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Gift of 
Rt. Rev, Msgr. Joseph F. 5mith,V.G. 


Made Necessary by the New Code of Canon Law 





Compiled by the Very Rev. Stanislaus Woywod, O.F.M. 

Case I, No. 3, page 12. — The New Code in Canon 2319 declares 
that those who contract marriage before a non-Catholic minister incur the 
excommunication reserved to the bishop. Before the New Code the parties 
did not only incur excommunication on account of the law of the III Balti- 
more Council but also on account of the law of the Bull "Aposiolicae 
Sedis" which excommunication was specially reserved to the Holy See. 

Case II. — The New Code abolishes the fourth degree of blood rela- 
tionship as an imi)ediment to marriage. The impediment of public honesty 
arising from valid marriage engagements has likewise been dropped by the 

Case IV, page 34. — ^The New Code in Canon 867 settles this ques- 
tion concerning the giving of Holy Commimion on Holy Saturday. This 
Canon states that Holy Communion may not be given on Holy Saturday 
except during the Holy Mass or immediately after it but at no other time. 

Case XVI. — The irregularity incurred by re-baptizing has been abol- 
ished by the Code. 

Case XXI, page 4. — The Code in Canon 1 1 38 says that the dispen- 
sation from renewing the consent can also be given when either one or both 
parties are ignorant of the invalidity of their marriage. 

Case XXXVII, page 1 80. — The Code makes no change in the solu- 


tion of the case. Canon 2350 declares that those procuring abortion, in- 
cluding also the mother, fall into excommunication reserved to the bishop. 

Case XXXIX, page 1 93. — ^The last paragraph should be omitted since 
the new Code does not require a re-consecration of the chalice and paten, 
for Canon 1 305 states that the chalice and paten do not lose their con- 
secration when the gold plating wears off or when replated. 

Case LVIII. — This case must be corrected as far as the mother is con- 
cerned, for Canon 2350 of the Code explicitly states that the mother is in- 
cluded in the penalty of excommunication for abortion. 

Case LXXII. — The New Code lays down the same rules for confes- 
sions of Nuns with solemn vows and for Sisters with simple vows. Canon 
876 states that it requires special jurisdiction from the bhhop to validly 
and licitly hear the confessions of religious women, even the novices, in 
their own convent. When they confess in any church, public or semi-public 
oratory, they may be absolved by any priest having the faculties of the 
diocese. They do not need permission nor have they to report that they 
went to confession. Ceinon 522. The rules concerning the appointment 
of the ordinary and extraordinary confessors remain the same as heretofore. 

Case LXXVII. — ^The number of papal censures now in force must 
be learned from the New Code, since the Bull ^^Apostolicae Sedis" and 
all other papal documents dealing with censures are revoked. Generally 
speaking the censures of the Bull "ApostoUcae Sedis" have been retained. 
Concerning the absolution from these cases the Code makes hardly any 
change from the recent laws on that point. The bishop is given faculty to 
absolve in occult cases from censures simpUdter reserved to the Holy See 
but he needs special faculties to absolve from those specialissimo and speciali 
modo reserved. Canon 2237. 

The faculty is likewise renewed for all priests to absolve from any papal 
reserved case in more urgent cases, namely when it is hard for the penitent 
to wait for absolution until the faculty can be obtained. The obligation, 
however, remains after the absolution to have recourse to the authorities or 
to one delegated and this recourse must be made within a month, otherwise 
the penitent falls again into the censure. If in some extraordinary case the 
priest should judge that recourse to the authorities is morally speaking im- 
possible, v/ith the exception of the case of solicitation, the confessor may 


give absolution and impose a special penance which must be done in the 
time prescribed by him under pain of falling again into the same censure. 
Canon 2254. 

In danger of death the priest can absolve from all censures but in those 
specialissimo modo reserved to the Holy See, and in the censures inflicted 
by a personal precept of either Pope or bishop the sick person is bound to 
have recourse to the respective authorities after recovery from the sickness. 
This recourse is demanded under pain of falling again into the censure. 
Canon 2232. 

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i » f 

A Collection of Cases in 

Moral and Pastoral 


Volume III 

AVitk an Index of Sul>]'ect9 oi the Entire Series 

New York 
Joseph F. Wagner 


V^ <J O ^0 \j ^ 

UK'"""' '^^•, 

^ibil iBbstat 

Rev. T. B. COTTER, Ph.D. 

Censer Deputatut 



Archbishop of Nfw York 

Nsw York, Sbptembsr 13. igio 

Copyright, igio, by JOSEPH F. WaONKR, N»w York 


"^HIS volume again contains many original Cases, 
first published in The Homiletic Monthly, 
and a number of others from various sources. 
In usefulness and interest it is hoped that this volume 
compares w^ell vv^ith its predecessors. 

A General Index of all the subjects dealt vi^ith in 
the three volumes of The Casuist is contained in this 
volume. It will be found helpful for ready reference to 
any particular subject. 

4.074-r ^ 



I. Some Points Regarding the New Marriage Legislation 7 

II. Concerning Espousals 13 

III. Is It Lawful to Assist at Spiritistic Seances ? 20 

IV. Giving Holy Communion on Holy Saturday 28 

V. Anticipating Matins and Lauds at Two o'Clock 35 

VI. Absolving Non-Catholics 40 

Vn. Is It Ever Permitted to Tell a Lie? 44 

VIII. Duties of a Witness 50 

IX. What Office Must a Subdeacon Say on the Day of His 

Ordination ? 56 

X. Betrothal and Marriage under the New Law 60 

XL Delegation Quoad Matrimonia 66 

XII. The Papal Blessing in Articulo Mortis 71 

XIII. Saying Mass without Wine 76 

XIV. A Marriage Case Recently Decided by Rome 81 

XV. A Roman Catholic Marries an Oriental Schismatic 86 

XVI. Irregularity Arising from Rebaptizing 90 

XVII. Co-operanfes Ad Furtum 94 

XVIII. Blessing the Easter Water on Holy Saturday 99 

XIX. Suspension Ipso Facto 104 

XX. Using the Oleum InHrmorum in Baptism 109 

XXI. Sanatio in Radice 113 

XXII. An Heir's Duty to Pay a Testator's Debts 118 

XXIII. Nullity of Marriage Owing to the Impediment of Fear 122 

XXIV. Frequent Communion 127 

XXV. Use of Stomach-Pump before and after Holy Communion.. 138 

XXVI. Epilepsy before Ordination 141 

XXVII. Celehrans Indice Impedito 143 

XXVIII. Shortening of Confessions When Many Penitents Are 

Waiting 147 

XXIX. Doubtful Restitution ; Decision of the Confessor ; Conse- 
quences to the Confessor 153 

XXX. An Incomplete, Yet Valid Confession; Extreme Unction 

Not Repeated after Its Invalid Reception 156 

XXXI. Restitution by Members of Religious Orders 160 

XXXII. False Teeth and Holy Communion 165 

XXXIII. Shortening of Confession to Save a Penitent's Reputation.. 167 

XXXIV. Perfect Contrition 170 

XXXV. The Office of the First Mass 173 

XXXVI. A Penitent's Recourse to the Sacred Penitentiary 175 

XXXVII. Does the Performance of Craniotomy Incur Excommunica- 
tion ? 178 

XXXVIII. Can a Bequest for Masses in the Testament of a Suicide Be 

Executed ? 182 

XXXIX. Replating an Indulgenced Cross 192 

XL. Regarding the Confession of a Person Hard of Hearing 194 

XLI. Necessity of Contrition in the Sacrament of Penance 196 

XLII. Superstitious Faith in Prayers ,,,,,, 2CX3 




































Is the Invocation of the Holy Name of Jesus Indispensably 

Required for Gaining the Indulgence for the Dying?.... 203 
Misuse of General Confession by Penitents of the Female 

Sex 211 

The Burial of Suicides 212 

Imposition in the Confessional 216 

Administering the Last Sacraments to the Feeble-Minded. . 218 
Can an Indefinite and General Accusation, Except in a Case 
of Necessity, Suffice for Confession, and Is It Permitted? 225 

Jurisdiction 238 

Doubt before Celebration 240 

Wine Mixed with Water Consecrated 244 

Rite of Extreme Unction, When Several Persons Are to 

Receive It at the Same Time 247 

Reconsecration of an Altare Portatile 250 

Must an Informer Make Restitution for the Injury Caused 

by His Denunciation ? 253 

A Difficult Case Presented by the Confession of a Bride. ... 254 
Does the Reservation of the Ahsohitio Couiplicis Extend to 
the Case of One Who Had Transgressed before Ordi- 
nation ? 257 

Envy as Mortal Sin 261 

Who Incurs the Censure: Procurantes Ahortum Eifectu 

Secuto ? 265 

Favoring Poor Relatives in the Disposition of Restitution 

Money 269 

Some Remarks about the Portable Altar and Its Desecration 272 

Errors in Changing Money 277 

Throwing Suspicion on Some One Else 280 

Feigning Absolution 283 

Dispensation from Fasting 286 

Compensatio Occulta and Restrictio Mentalis 288 

Incorrect Definition of Vow 292 

Gambling with Another's Counterfeit Money, and the Obliga- 
tion of Restitution 296 

May Mass Be Celebrated, and Holy Communion Given, at 

an Altar upon Which the Blessed Sacrament Is Exposed 298 
When in Holy Mass Are the Words Calicem Salutaris Ac- 

cipiam to Be Spoken ? 303 

How May Mistakes Made in the Prayers of the Mass Be 

Remedied ? 306 

How Should a Parish Priest Act towards an Apostate 

Parishioner Who Is Seriously 111 ? 309 

Jurisdiction to Hear Confessions of Nuns 313 

Absolutio in Periculo Mortis 318 

Preserving the Seal of Confession by the Confessor against 

Himself 324 

Possessor Bonae Fidei and the Duty of Restitution 330 

A Traveling Salesman's Expenses 33?- 

Concerning Absolutio a Censuris 336 

General Index of Subjects 341 


New Casus Conscientiae of General Import^ Discussed and Solved 

Vol. Ill 



Rev. and Dear Sir, — Will you kindly give me some information 
on a few points concerning the new marriage legislation, A^^ temere, 
August 2, 1907. 

1. I have heard it maintained that in the Archdiocese of New 
York any pastor or his assistants may marry validly any place within 
the limits of the diocese, although they marry licitly only within the 
limits of their own parish. Do you know if this is the case ? 

2. Is it not sufficient for vera sponsalia, under the new legislation, 
that the written document or betrothal be signed by both parties in 
the presence of the ordinary or the parish priest, though the parties 
to the contract do not sign in the presence of one another ? This is 
all that is required for other contracts in writing, and it would seem 
to be sufficient for a betrothal. 

3. Do Catholics who, under the new marriage legislation, contract 
or attempt to contract marriage before a non-Catholic minister of 
religion, incur excommunication as formerly? The reason I ask is 


that since the excommunication was intended to deter Catholics 
from approaching a non-CathoHc minister of worship, and that now 
a greater penalty being provided to deter them from such a cere- 
mony, namely the invalidity of such unions, it seems to me that the 
lesser penalty, i. e., the excommunication, serving little or no pur- 
pose at present, would become inoperative. For if the nullity of 
their marriaee, when contracted before a non-Catholic minister of 
the Gospel, will not deter Catholics from such a ceremony, certainly 
dread of the excommunication incurred by such conduct will have 
no influence with them. 

Answer. — i. It is evidently incorrect to say that a priest, having 
faculties in the diocese where he resides, may marry validly any 
place within the limits of the diocese to which he belongs. The text 
of the decree Ne temere, of the Congregation of the Council, August 
2, 1907, states explicitly that "the parish priest and the ordinary of 
the place assist validly at a marriage only within the limits of 
their territory; within which they assist validly at marriages not 
only of their ozvn subjects hut also of those not subject to them" 
("Ne temere," IV, 11). 

Now while the territory of the ordinary is the whole diocese, and 
he assists validly at the marriages within the limits of the diocese, 
the territory of the pastor is his parish, and therefore only within the 
limits of his parish does he assist validly at marriages. As regards 
the Archdiocese of New York, and the same will hold good for the 
other dioceses of the United States, it is expressly stated in the letter 
of the Archbishop, March 2, 1908, to all the priests of the arch- 
diocese, on this matter that "as far as this diocese is affected in the 
matter of validity, every priest of this diocese, having faculties, can 
validly assist at marriages, within the limits of his own parish, and 
can marry validly, within the limits of his own parish, not only his 


own parishioners, but also people from other parishes and other 
dioceses, provided there be no diriment impediment. A marriage 
performed by a priest (without being duly delegated) outside the 
limits of his own parish is null and void" (cf. Letter of Archbp. 
Farley, March 2, 1908, p. 6). As far as it has been possible to 
consult the pastoral letters of the other Bishops of the United States 
on this new legislation, they all lay down the same rules for the 
guidance of their clergy, namely, that within the limits of their re- 
spective parishes^ the pastors assist validly at all marriages, but 
outside the limits of their parishes they can not assist validly^ un- 
less delegated by the ordinary or by the parish priest of the district 
where the marriage takes place. Whatever may be said concerning 
the intention of the ordinaries of dioceses to extend the jurisdiction 
of parish priests in the matter of marriages to the whole diocese, it 
is evident from the printed letter of the Archbishop of New York 
that such is not his intention. In an)'' case it would require very 
exceptional circumstances to justify a Bishop in extending the 
jurisdiction of his priests in the matter of marriages to the whole 
diocese, since it is the intention of the Congregation of the Council, 
by whose authority the new legislation was enacted, to limit the 
parish priest's jurisdiction over marriage to the limits of his own 
parish. This appears from a casual perusal of the text of the 
decree Ne temere itself, or of the commentaries on it issued by the 
canonists here and abroad. 

2. As regards the manner of signing the written sponsalia, the 
Congregation of the Council has recently issued instructions that the 
written agreement must be signed by both parties to it and by the 
parish priest, or the ordinary of the diocese, or in the absence of 
the parish priest or of the ordinary, then by two witnesses, in the 
presence of all the parties required by the new law to sign it. It 



is not necessary that the document be drawn up in the presence of 
the parties signing it, but it is necessary for its validity that it be 
signed by the contracting parties in the presence of one another and 
of the parish priest or the ordinary of the diocese, who shall also 
sign it, then and there, in the presence of the contracting parties. 
It would not suffice, for instance, if the man signed it in the presence 
of his parish priest, and then sent it to the woman to be signed by 
her, together with the parish priest, in the presence of one another. 
The written document must be signed by both parties to it in 
the presence of one another and in the presence of the parish 
priest, who shall then sign it in the presence of the two con- 
tracting parties. It is of paramount importance that these formali- 
ties be observed, otherwise the document will be null and void. It 
is also required by the new legislation that the document contain the 
date on which it was signed, that is to say the day, the month and the 
year. If such date is omitted, the omission will invalidate the 
sponsalia. As all this is positive legislation, one may not conclude 
that because certain formalities are not required for contracts in 
general, therefore they are not required for the validity of a very 
special contract like sponsalia. In this respect sponsalia or the writ- 
ten agreement to marry resembles a last will and testament, in the 
way it must be signed, in order to be valid. 

The law in most of the States requires that a last will and testa- 
ment, in order to be valid, must be signed by the testator in the 
presence of two witnesses, who shall then sign it also, in the presence 
of one another and of the testator. It must also bear the date of 
the day, month and year. If these formalities are not observed, the 
testament will not stand in court. The same is true of the written 
betrothal or sponsalia. Every one required by the new law to sign 
the sponsalia must sign in the presence of every one else so signing. 


The purpose of the law is to prevent fraud and deception as well as 
misunderstandings and legal complications. 

3. Do Catholics still incur excommunication who are married by a 
non-Catholic minister of religion? 

Yes, Catholics so marrying incur excommunication. The excom- 
munication attaching to such marriages has not been removed by 
the new legislation. In this connection it may be well to recall that 
the excommunication incurred by Catholics in the United States 
who marry before a Protestant minister, is a twofold one, papal and 
episcopal. The papal excommunication is contained in the Bull of 
Pius IX (Apostolicae Sedis), and runs as follows: 

"Omnes a Christiana Ude apostates et omnes ac singulos haereticos, 
quocunque nomine censeantur, et cujuscunque sectae existantj eisque 
credentes eorumque receptores, fautores ac generaliter quoslibet 
eorum defensores." 

The Holy Office has repeatedly affirmed that those who contract 
or attempt to contract marriage before a non-Catholic minister of 
religion incur this excommunication (S. Officium, August 28, 1888; 
May II, 1892). It is pretty well understood that the reason why 
Catholics, marrying before a Protestant minister, incur this ex- 
communication, is that by so doing they profess themselves, in foro 
externa, believers in heresy. For by consenting to receive the 
Sacraments from an heretical minister of the Gospel according to an 
heretical rite, they implicitly profess their belief in heresy and are 
therefore excommunicated. Now this papal excommunication is 
still in full force, notwithstanding the new marriage laws, and is 
incurred the same as formerly. As ignorance of its existence ex- 
empts from incurring it, and moreover, since faculties to dispense 
from it are granted to all confessors in this country, it need not 
cause embarrassment. 



The other excommunication, incurred by Catholics marrying be- 
fore a non-Catholic minister of religion, is episcopal, provided by the 
Bishops of the third plenary Council of Baltimore. Neither has this 
excommunication been revoked by the new marriage legislation. 
Nor does ignorance of its existence excuse from incurring it. The 
power to remove this latter excommunication is reserved to the 
Bishops or ordinaries and must be received from them by the con- 
fessor wishing to absolve from it, each time that he desires so to 
absolve. All Catholics, therefore, in the United States who go be- 
fore a non-Catholic minister of religion to be married, are now, as 
formerly, excommunicated and reserved to the ordinary. The pur- 
pose of the excommunication is to punish Catholics by cutting them 
off from the communion of the faithful, for aiding and abetting 
heresy. This purpose is served under the new legislation just as 
much as under the former laws, and there remains the same reason 
now as formerly, for punishing those who betray their faith by pro- 
fessing heresy and engaging in a false worship. Under the new 
legislation Catholics who marry before a civil magistrate are no more 
validly married than if they had been married by a non-Catholic 
minister of religion. But marrying before a civil magistrate is not 
a communicatio in divinis, nor is it an implicit profession of heresy, 
not even in foro externo ; and therefore the Church has not judged 
it necessary to punish it by excommunicating the guilty parties. 
Hence in the whole matter of incurring excommunication by marry- 
ing before a non-Catholic minister of the Gospel, the present disci- 
pline is identical with the discipline that prevailed before Easter, 


Some time before last Easter John entered into a serious and 
valid contract of betrothal with a widow named Virginia. Vir- 
ginia was a third cousin of John, and the sponsalia were contracted 
on condition that the Church would allow them to marry. Appli- 
cation was made for a dispensation from the impediment of con- 
sanguinity in the fourth degree, and the dispensation was obtained. 
Before the marriage took place, however, the widow died. She left 
a grown daughter, Rhea, whom John now desires to wed. Will it be 
necessary to get a dispensation from the impediment of blood rela- 
tionship, since Rhea is John's third cousin once removed; and will 
it be necessary also to get a dispensation from the impediment 
publicae honestatis, on account of the valid espousals that existed 
between John and Rhea's mother, Virginia? 

Answer. — I. There is no need of a dispensation from an impedi- 
ment of consanguinity in order that John may marry Rhea. Rhea's 
mother was John's third cousin, or, as the Canon Law puts it, the 
widow Virginia was related by blood to John in the fourth degree 
of kinship. The widow's daughter Rhea is related to John in the 
fifth degree, touching the fourth, in quinto gradii attingente quar- 
fum. In English John and Rhea are called third cousins once re- 
moved. In Latin they are called consanguinei in quinto gradu attin" 
gente quartum. Now the fourth Council of Lateran, held under 
Innocent III, A. D. 1215, and the Council of Trent, A. D. 1545, re- 
stricted the impediment to marriage arising from blood relationship 
to the fourth degree of kindred, that is, to third cousins. Any re- 
lationship beyond the fourth degree, even though it be mixed with a 
closer degree, say the second or the third, creates no impediment 
to marriage. Before the fourth Council of Lateran, the impedi- 



ment extended to the seventh degree, i. e., to sixth cousins. But 
as it was very difficult to follow up blood relationship to the seventh 
degree, the council wisel}' restricted the impediment to the fourth 
degree. As Rhea's mother and John were third cousins, or blood 
relatives In the fourth degree, it follows that Rhea herself is more 
distantly related to John than the fourth degree, and therefore 
needs no dispensation in order to marry John. 

11. But when we come to the second question the solution is 
not so easy. Theologians and canonists of high repute have 
argued the matter for centuries, but the case is still in court. 
Are espousals valid, when contracted by two persons between whom 
a diriment impediment to marriage exists, provided these persons 
contract the espousals on condition of obtaining a dispensation from 
the impediment? 

Theologians are agreed that, if the impediment be one from 
which the Church can not or does not dispense, or if there be no 
sufficient reason for granting a dispensation, the espousals are null 
and void. Even though the impediment be one from which the 
Church can and does dispense, and there be a just cause for grant- 
ing a dispensation, nevertheless if either party to the betrothal con- 
tract breaks the engagement before a dispensation is granted, then 
the espousals are null and void, and a subsequent dispensation pro- 
duces no efifect whatever. On this point also the theologians are in 
accord. If, after a dispensation has been granted, the parties to a 
betrothal renew their consent, either expressly or tacitly, v. g., by 
having the banns of marriage published, in that case the sponsalia 
are valid and produce their canonical effects. On these points there 
exists no controversy. 

The question which divides the theologians to-day, and has di- 
vided them for centuries, is this : Are sponsalia, contracted sub con- 


ditione: si dispensetur, by persons between whom a diriment im- 
pediment to marriage exists, null and void from the beginning, so 
that, although neither party to them withdraws consent, still 
they remain null and void and produce no canonical effect, even 
after a dispensation to wed has been granted, unless there be a re- 
newal of the engagement, after obtaining the dispensation ? Or are 
such espousals conditionally valid from the moment they are 
entered into, and do they become absolutely valid on the granting 
of the dispensation to marry, without any renewal of the espousals ? 
If such sponsalia are invalid from the beginning, then obtenta dis- 
pensatione they remain invalid, and create no diriment impediment 
publicae honestatis, between blood relations in the first degree. If, 
on the contrary, such espousals are conditionally valid, like all other 
conditional espousals, then, obtenta dispensatione, they become abso- 
lutely valid, and create the diriment impediment publicae honestatis, 
which renders marriage with one another's blood relations in the 
first degree null and void. For when valid espousals have once 
been contracted, then, although they be broken for just and suf- 
ficient cause, still they leave behind them a diriment impediment 
publicae honestatis, which will invalidate the subsequent marriage 
of either party with the first degree blood relations of the other. 
Thus a man who is validly engaged to a woman, can not wed her 
mother, nor her sister, nor her daughter, even though the original 
engagement be broken by mutual consent and for sufficient cause. 
The same is true of the woman with regard to the man's father, 
brother and son. Now if we apply what has been said to the case 
under discussion, we would say that if the sponsalia of John and 
Virgfinia, contracted "sub conditione: si dispensetur" became abso- 
lutely valid as soon as the dispensation was granted them to wed, 
then John can not marry validly any first degree blood relation of 


Virginia, i. e,, neither her mother, nor her sister, nor her daughter 
Rhea. On the contrary, if the espousals of John and Virginia 
were invalid when they were contracted, then they remained invalid 
even after a dispensation to wed had been granted, and there exists 
no diriment impediment piibUcae honestatis to John's marriage with 
Virginia's daughter Rhea. 

Among the theologians who would permit John and Rhea to 
marry without procuring a dispensation we find Card, de Luca, 
Berardi, Lehmkuhl, Santi, Scavini, Gury, Giraldi, and very many 
others. Among the theologians who maintain that John's espousals 
with Virginia were valid, and that therefore there does exist 
a diriment impediment publicae honestatis, between Virginia's 
daughter and John, we find the names of St. Alphonsus, Reiffen- 
stuehl, Ballerini, de Angelis, D'Annibale, Noldin, etc. The first 
of these two groups of theologians maintains that sponsalia inter 
personas impeditas, innita sub conditione: si superior dispensave- 
RiT, sint ab initio radicaliter nulla, ita ut etiam obtenta dispensatione, 
licet consensus revocatus non sit, in sua nullitate persistant, nisi con- 
sensus fuerit renovatus. 

In support of their opinion they appeal to the Acta S. Sedis, 
I, p. 121, where we read: "If these espousals were valid, even 
though contracted sub conditione, then they would be binding from 
the very moment they were contracted. The condition attached to 
them adds nothing new, except the note of time, which is made de- 
pendent on the dispensation. Supposing the dispensation to have 
been granted, one party to the sponsalia could force the other 
party to contract marriage in case this second party should be un- 
willing to do so, and this he could do, not by virtue of the dispensa- 
tion, but by virtue of the promise to marry originally made. The 
source of the obligation to marry would thus have to be traced 


back to the time that the espousals, even though conditional, were 
contracted. But, at the time when the espousals were contracted, 
the contracting parties were not capable of making such a contract, 
being disabled by the diriment impediment." From which it fol- 
lows that a contract that is null and void when made, can not be 
rendered valid later on, except by renewal of the contract after 
the disability has been removed. 

Again, the Congregation of the Council has repeatedly declared 
espousals, such as we are discussing, to be null and void in law 
and of no effect, v. g., January 26, 1709; December 12, 1733; May 
2, 1857; November 27, 1858. On October 2, 1857, the same Con- 
gregation declared that these espousals are null and void, even 
though there was question of a blood relative having been violated 
under promise of marriage and to whom a dispensation was 
promised afterward. A renewal of the consent was necessary, the 
Congregation declared, even after the dispensation had been granted, 
and in the mean time both parties were canonically free to contract 
other espousals. Finally, according to these theologians, it has 
always been the steadfast practise of the Congregation of the Coun- 
cil to declare such espousals null and void. 

But now listen to the theologians of the opposite side. The rea- 
sons which they advance in support of the validity of these condi- 
tional espousals are even more cogent than those of their opponents. 

They contend that the condition, si dispensetur, annexed to the 
espousals is possible of fulfilment, since the Church can and does 
dispense in like cases, the condition is just and legitimate, since 
there is a sufficient reason for asking for a dispensation and a just 
cause for granting it. The subject matter of the conditional spousal 
contract is perfectly legitimate, namely, marriage upon obtaining a 
dispensation. A contract, made on a condition that is just and 


legitimate, becomes valid and binding as soon as the condition is 
fulfilled. Again, in the opinion of these theologians, no proof can 
be drawn from the answers of the Congregation of the Council, be- 
cause, in the cases reviewed by the Congregation, the dispensation 
had not yet been fulminated and one of the parties had withdrawn 
consent, and therefore the spousal contract remained null and 
void, even after a dispensation had been obtained. The cases re- 
viewed by the Congregation were therefore altogether dijfferent 
from ours. 

The opinions of these two groups of theologians are solidly prob- 
able. Card. Gasparri says of them: "Haec altera sententia (main- 
taining the validity of the espousals under discussion here) est 
prohabilior, sed et primam vera ac certa prohabilitate, saltern ex- 
trinseca, gaudere putamus" (De Sponsal., p. 52). 

Dr. De Becker, professor at the University of Louvain, thinks 
that the opinion denying the validity of the espousals should be fol- 
lowed in practise. He says : "Praeferenda videtur haec ultima sen- 
tentia, quani suam saltern habere probabilitatem aegre negaretur; 
unde urgendi non essent effectus sponsalium validorum" (De Spon- 
sal., p. 8). 

In view of what has been said it would be difficult indeed to de- 
termine whether John and Rhea need a dispensation super impedi- 
mento publicae honestatis to wed, or not. But we may reach a 
satisfactory solution by another process of reasoning. St. Alphon- 
sus says, and in fact it is a common axiom in Canon Law, that 
whenever an opinion is probable in law (probabilitate juris) that 
there does not exist any ecclesiastical impediment to a marriage, 
then the Church has ever been presumed, even from the earliest 
times, to sanction such a marriage and to remove any impediment to 
it, if perchance any such should exist. According to the holy 



doctor, this is the common opinion of theologians and canonists, 
and he commends it as a safe rule to follow. There can be 
no question here of administering a Sacrament according to a 
probable opinion. In this case the Church removes the probable 
impediment, in case it does actually exist, and thus the Sacrament 
is administered with moral certainty as to its validity. Therefore 
John and Rhea may marry validly and licitly, without procuring a 
dispensation super impedimento publicae honestatis. 


Peter, a man of excellent character, though somewhat ingenuous, 
has been present several times at private spiritistic seances. He 
was led by curiosity alone. He took no active part in the experi- 
ments, nor did he sit in the "circle." He was a passive spectator 
only. For this, however, he was severely taken to task by some 
friends, who maintained that even passive assistance at spiritistic 
manifestations is sinful, because it is a communing with evil spirits. 
Peter, however, maintains that the nature, of these spirit manifesta- 
tions is not known, and, therefore, can not be condemned as un- 
lawful or evil, and he does not see why he may not continue to 
assist at them. 

Answer. — I. Briefly, the phenomena of spiritism may be summed 
up as follows : The earliest phenomenon that takes place when a 
number of persons gather together to hold a spiritistic seance is the 
movement of the table around which the persons are seated and on 
which they lightly place their hands. The table is moved in a 
jerky and undecided way at first, and, to all appearances, uncon- 
sciously by one of the sitters. But after a time the movement be- 
comes regular and seems to indicate a force operating independently 
of the sitters. When this force is fully developed, three or four 
strong adults, deliberately exercising all their physical strength, 
can not control it. Even a very heavy dining-room table, on which 
many heavy objects have been placed, may rise up bodily in the air, 
and remain suspended for some seconds, and then descend to its 
normal position, without disturbing anything on it. The same 



phenomenon takes place with desks, chairs, boxes or other furni- 
ture. When these physical manifestations have reached a certain 
degree of what is called "development," the phenomenon passes into 
a farther phase, and instead of the vibrations and tiltings of the 
table, clear percussive sounds, like tapping on wood with some 
solid object, such as a pencil, become perceptible. At first these 
tappings are very faint, but under favorable conditions become very 
distinct and amazingly emphatic and intelligent in character, a means 
in fact by which questions put by a sitter are answered and informa- 
tion conveyed, sometimes wholly unknown to anyone present. 

A third phase of these physical manifestations is the lifting and 
shifting of heavy objects and pieces of furniture, without any con- 
tact or co-operation of the sitters. Grand pianos and heavy dining- 
room sideboards are made to change places, chairs with persons 
seated on them are raised to the ceiling and lowered again, with- 
out even a wish or suggestion on the parts of the sitters, in fact 
very often to their very great alarm and discomfort. 

Luminous appearances, or "spirit lights," are another manifesta- 
tion of spiritism. These "lights" are unlike any other kind of light 
known at present. Investigators like Sir William Crookes, have 
endeavored to reproduce them artificially, but have failed. These 
lights resemble glow worms or lightning bugs on a dark summer's 
night. If the room is darkened it will seem to be full of these glow 
worms rapidly passing from point to point, now showing their 
light, now hiding it, occasionally settling on an object and remain- 
ing stationary, and then again moving on. Sometimes these "spirit 
lights" are followed by the appearance of a luminous hand or head 
or face or body. Sometimes a phantom form will carry a "spirit 
light" in its hand and pass it up and down its form, in order to 
make themselves distinctly visible to all present. According to in- 


vestigators of spiritism, these "spirit lights" are unquestionably 
controlled by independent spirit intelligences. 

The final stage of physical manifestations is the "materialization" 
of human forms and faces. These are visible to all the persons 
assisting at the experiment. For these materializations a "sensitive" 
of highly developed power is required. The "sensitive" goes into a 
deep trance or state of insensibility. The trance is not produced 
by the hypnotic action of any one present, but takes place naturally 
after the circle is formed. This trance is generally preceded by 
some extremely unpleasant and repulsive manifestations, the "sen- 
sitive" apparently enduring a great deal of pain and discomfort, 
and laboring under some kind of physical oppression. After a time, 
however, these symptoms disappear and the "sensitive" passes into 
a state of profound insensibility. Now, in the darkened room, hands 
not belonging to anyone in the room, or the dim outline of faces or 
of human forms become visible and gradually seem to grow solid 
and clear. In some instances the entire form, enveloped in light 
drapery, is materialized, moves about the room, speaks to the 
sitters in an audible voice or whisper, and after a while "dema- 
terialises," and melts away before their eyes. The form seems to 
fall to pieces, as if a wax form were melting away, leaving only 
a white cloud or vapor behind, which lasts for a moment or two 
on the carpet or floor, through which it seems to pass. If the 
psychic conditions are favorable, these forms may have all the 
characteristics of human beings. The pulse or heart may be felt to 
be beating, and they seem to hear and to speak and to see, and they 
remain materialized for a considerable time. 

II. The purpose of all these manifestations and phenomena is to 
prove to the persons assisting at them that there are extraneous and 
independent spirit intelligences present, and that under certain con- 


ditions, they can and do hold communion with the living. Thus they 
will in many instances do things wholly contrary to all expectation 
or suggestion. They will propose experiments which never entered 
the minds of the investigators and which would seem to them diffi- 
cult if not impossible of execution. They will display a sharpness 
and intelligence and ingenuity which amaze and bewilder the stu- 
dent, and force him to the conclusion that only supernatural spirit 
forces or intelligences can account for the phenomena. Efforts have 
been made to explain these manifestations on the subliminal mind 
theory. The psychologists assert that there is going on beneath 
the threshold of our ordinary waking consciousness a secondary, 
and far more mysterious process of mind-action, which is in many 
respects entirely distinct and independent of the normal and con- 
scious working of the mind. In fact, man, they say, is possessed 
of two minds, each having its own particular sphere of operations. 
By means of this secondary or subliminal mind, the psychologists 
have endeavored to explain all the so-called spiritistic phenomena. 
Up to the present, the endeavor has failed. Many spiritistic phe- 
nomena may be satisfactorily accounted for by the subliminal mind 
theory, but there are many also which, according to the masters 
of the science, can not possibly be explained except on the theory 
of spiritism. Unless it be admitted that there are separate and in- 
dependent spirit intelligences at work in these manifestations and 
materializations, they remain wholly unaccounted for on any theory 
up to the present known to science. Full allowance being made for 
fraud and deception and for the workings and vagaries of the 
subliminal mind, it can scarcely be denied with any show of reason, 
upon a thoughtful consideration of the evidence, that many of these 
spiritistic phenomena are the direct work of separate and inde- 
pendent spirit intelligences. The evidence is simply overwhelming. 


The universal evidence of these materialized beings themselves is 
that they are the spirits of departed men and women, some of whom 
have learned the art of manipulating the delicate matter abstracted 
from the organism of the sensitive (astral substance) and of shaping 
it into bodies resembling those of their past earth life, and that 
they do this for the purpose of giving evidence that they have sur- 
vived the shock of death and are able to communicate with the 
living. But are they really the spirits of the dead? Thus far no 
investigator has ever been able to establish the identity of any com- 
municating spirit. When put to the test all attempts at identifica- 
tion utterly break down. In their efforts to identify themselves 
with certain dead persons, the intelligences have been detected in 
all kinds of lying and deception and skilful subterfuge. After years 
of effort with what seemed the same intelligence to establish the 
earth-identity that it claimed for itself, some communication is 
made, or some fact alleged, which shows conclusively that the in- 
telligence has been fraudulently impersonating some dead person. 
Inconsistencies, incoherencies and contradictions in a communicat- 
or's account of himself; oblivion and error about things which it 
seems inconceivable that the real person should have forgotten or be 
mistaken about, and an intellectual standpoint inferior to his in life, 
are some of the reasons why the investigator will doubt the identity 
which the intelligence claims for itself. The real ultimate aim of 
the intelligence seems to be the control of the sensitive. The entire 
complicated machinery of mediumship is set in operation with this 
one end in view. Once full control of the sensitive is obtained, 
the masquerading intelligence seeks to accomplish the moral and 
physical ruin of its victims. "The ingenuity displayed in attain- 
ing this end, the tricks and subtleties resorted to in order to escape 
detection and to continue *in possession,' were in one or two 


instances of a kind passing all human comprehension and imagina- 
tion, and the wonder is that anything like an escape from such 
toils is ever effected at all. In some instances this is only accom- 
plished after the physical constitution of the victim has been 
completely ruined, in others the termination of the experiment is 
reached in the asylum, or in some institution for the cure of 
nervous disease." (Raupert, Modern Spiritism.) 

"Ten thousand unfortunate people are at present (1877) con- 
fined in lunatic asylums on account of having dabbled in spiritism. 
Not a week passes that we do not hear that some of these unfor- 
tunates destroy themselves by suicide or are removed to a lunatic 
asylum. The mediums often manifest signs of an abnormal con- 
dition of their mental faculties, and among certain of them are found 
unequivocal indications of a true demoniacal possession. The evil 
spreads rapidly, and it produces frightful results." (Dr. Forbes 
Winslow, Spiritual Madness.) 

When one considers the moral and intellectual confusion and 
chaos that flow from these spirit communications, one is driven to 
the conclusion that the intelligences are not the spirits of the dead, 
but evil and malign spirits, masquerading as the spirits of the 
dead, to accomplish the moral and physical and psychical ruin of 
their victims. 

The "creed" of spiritism, as gathered from its most authoritative 
literature and from the disclosures of the spirit intelligences, is anti- 
Christian. However diverse their teaching may be on secondary 
matters, there is absolute agreement on the following points : 

1. Christianity is not a special and unique revelation. It is one 
of many forms of high spirit manifestation, designed to enforce on 
man the binding obligation of the moral law, inherent in his nature. 

2. Christ is not divine in the sense of the Catholic Church. He 


is a purely human being, who possessed wonderful psychic powers. 

3. The teaching of the Church regarding the passion and death 
of Christ is all wrong, due to human error and weakness. 

4. There is no priesthood especially set aside and ordained by 
Christ to continue His work. 

5. The Church with her Sacraments was never instituted to 
perpetuate the work of saving men's souls. She is purely human 
in her origin, her growth and her work. 

6. The notion of retribution after death for sin committed in 
the flesh is folly. Man is daily and hourly preparing his own 
heaven and hell. There is no heaven or hell as taught by the 
Church. Man is in very truth his own saviour. 

With this "creed" of spiritism before him, a Catholic can have 
no difficulty in determining the nature of the intelligences at work 
in these spirit manifestations. "But though we, or an angel from 
heaven, preach a Gospel to you besides that which we have 
preached to you, let him be anathema" (Gal. i, 8). These are evil 
spirits, bent on evil. Since the days of our blessed Lord their 
works and pomps have been known and resisted by the Church. 
They are lying spirits. They impel their victims to the most loath- 
some immoral abominations. They teach false and immoral doc- 
trines. They abhor the presence of holy things. They deny Jesus 
Christ. "Every spirit that dissolveth Jesus is not of God. And this 
is anti-Christ of whom you have heard that he cometh, and he is 
now already in the world" (I John iv). 

III. As regards the case of Peter, we would say that since he 
was ignorant of the nature and purpose of these spirit manifes- 
tations and materializations, his assistance at the seances was not 
sinful. He was led merely by curiosity. But for the future he is 
bound under pain of mortal sin to abstain from all participation* 


even passive, in spiritism. Even if it were granted that the nature 
of the forces at work in spiritism is not sufficiently established to 
pass a final judgment on them, still sufficient is known to make it 
clear to every Catholic that these spirit intelligences are demonic in 
nature, and that all commerce with them is immoral and sinful and 
strictly prohibited by the law of God and of the Catholic Church. 


In a certain parish church in a large city it has been the practise 
for many years to distribute holy Communion to the faithful during 
the solemn Mass on holy Saturday. Some priests maintain that 
this practise is forbidden by the Church, while others contend that 
it is lawful. Both sides appeal to authorities in support of their 
contention. What seems to you to be the truth of the matter? 
Is it lawful to give holy Communion to the faithful on holy Satur- 

Answer : It may be asked whether it be lawful to give holy Com- 
munion to any and all of the faithful who present themselves during 
the Mass on holy Saturday, and whether it be lawful to give holy 
Communion to the faithful after the Mass on that day. And finally, 
in case the Mass were postponed until a late hour on holy Saturday, 
would it be permitted to give holy Communion before the Mass, 
even very early, holy Saturday morning? 

First, as to the lawfulness of giving holy Communion during the 
Mass or after the Mass on holy Saturday. It is impossible to say 
with absolute certainty whether it be lawful or not. Pope Benedict 
XIV maintained that it was not lawful (cf. De sacriUcio Missae, 
I. Hi, ch. i8). In our own day Cardinal Gasparri, one of the greatest 
living canonists, maintains that it is not lawful, except where there 
exists an immemorial custom. On the other hand, there are eminent 
authors who claim that it is lawful to give holy Communion to any 
and all of the faithful on holy Saturday, Let us examine a little more 

minutely these conflicting opinions. 

It is certainly forbidden to distribute holy Communion on Good 
Friday, except as viaticum, because Good Friday is a non-liturgical 
day {dies aliturgicus), on which it is forbidden to say Mass or to 



give holy Communion. Now, some authors, as Cardinal Gasparri, 
extend the prohibition to holy Saturday also. "Similis prohibitio (as 
on Good Friday) sed minus gravis, est pro sabbato sancto ; nimirum 
juxta antiquam disciplinam in sabbato sancto fidelibus sacra com- 
munio non distribuebatur, cum hie dies esset aliturgicus, et fideles 
tantum in Missa communicare solerent. Haec disciplina etiam hodie 
servanda est" (Gasparri, De s. Euch., n. 1090). 

That is to say, according to Cardinal Gasparri, the faithful did 
not communicate until the Mass on holy Saturday, which was not 
celebrated until the night between holy Saturday and Easter Sun- 
day ; because holy Saturday, like Good Friday, being a non-liturgical 
day, it was forbidden to say Mass or to give holy Communion on 
that day. The Mass that is now celebrated holy Saturday morn- 
ing, really belongs to Easter Sunday morning, but has been gradu- 
ally advanced, until now it is celebrated holy Saturday morning. 
Now it is maintained that when the Mass that originally was cele- 
brated in the night between holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, 
was advanced to holy Saturday morning, the character of the day, 
which is non-liturgical, was not changed, and therefore the faithful 
may not receive holy Communion on holy Saturday. Although the 
Mass was advanced, the holy Communion was not advanced, and its 
distribution therefore on that day is not permitted. An exception, 
of course, is made for those places where a custom has grown up 
of giving holy Communion. But where the custom does not exist 
from time immemorial, the practise is forbidden. Gasparri cites 
the reply of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, September 22, 1837, 
to prove that while holy Communion is allowed in such places where 
the custom exists of distributing it on holy Saturday, still as a rule 
it is forbidden : 

"Proposito dubio, 2 cum orat'iones tam praecedentes quam sub- 



sequentes communionem Missae sabbati sancti loquantur in numero 
plurali, hinc quaeritur utrum Hceat in ead-em Missa post com- 
munionem celebrantis Eucharistiam ministrare fidelibus et praeser- 
tim cum particulis in eadem Missa consecratis" ; S. R. C. reposuit : 
"ad 2iim : Negative, nisi adsit consuetudo." But to this it must be 
answered that in the latest edition of the authentic decrees of the 
Congregation of Rites, this particular decree is omitted. 

On March 22, 1806, the Congregation of Rites being asked: "An 
liceat in sabbato sancto inter Missarum solemnia sacram Eucharis- 
tiam fidelibus distribuere, et num per eandem sumptionem sacrae 
communionis praeceptum paschale adimpleatur" ; S. R. C. reposuit : 
"Affirmative ad utrumque." While this answer of the Congregation 
of Rites would seem, to decide the question in favor of Communion 
on holy Saturday, in reality it does not, because an immemorial 
custom of distributing holy Communion to the faithful on holy 
Saturday existed in the diocese to which this decree was issued. 
However, the decree does seem to favor the opinion that it is lawful 
to give holy Communion to the faithful on holy Saturday, because, 
although issued in reply to a request for information from a place 
where the custom existed of giving holy Communion on holy Satur- 
day, nevertheless the decree abscinds altogether from the fact that 
such a custom existed. 

In former times, when the Mass that is now said on holy Saturday 
morning was said in the night between holy Saturday and Easter 
Sunday, it is certain that the faithful received holy Communion 
in it. The Roman ordo I, which gives the rites followed in or about 
the time of Pope Gregory the Great, A. D. 600, says : "Regarding 
little children it is provided that after they have been baptized (on 
holy Saturday) they shall take no food nor shall they be nursed 
until they have received the Sacrament of tlie body of Christ, and 


every day during Easter week, they shall go to Mass and their 
parents shall make the offering for them, and they shall all commu- 
nicate/' "Illud autem de parvulis providendum est, ut postquam 
baptizati fuerint, nullum cibum accipiant, nee lactentur, antequam 
communicent' sacramenta corporis Christi, et omnibus diebus septi- 
manae Paschae, ad Missas procedant, et parentes eorum offerant pro 
ipsis et communicent omnes" (Mabillon, Musaeum italicum, torn, 
ii, p. 28). 

As the Mass was gradually advanced until it is now said on holy 
Saturday morning, it seems but reasonable to conclude that the 
Communion of the faithful, which took place in it, was advanced 
also and that at present it is lawful to give holy Communion to the 
faithful in the Mass or after it on holy Saturday, since it is lawful 
to say Mass at all on that day, and since the holy Communion is not 
forbidden by any positive law or decree of the Sacred Congregation. 

As we have just stated, Gasparri and others deny that the Com- 
munion of the faithful was advanced with the Mass on holy Satur- 
day, and maintain that holy Saturday is still a non-liturgical day, 
dies aliturgicus, as far as holy Communion is concerned, but there 
seems to be no positive evidence available in support of their con- 

In the sacramentary of Pope Gelasius, which dates back to the end 
of the fifth century, the Rite of the Mass for holy Saturday is ex- 
plained. The prayers of the Mass of holy Saturday, as therein con- 
tained, presuppose that hosts were offered by the neophytes and 
that the faithful communicated. The secreta of the Mass explicitly 
supposes hostia^ a renatis ohlatas fuisse et Udeles communicasse. 
And the post-communio of the Mass says: "Praesta, quaesumus, 
omnipotens Deus, ut, divino murere satiati, et sacris mysteriis inno- 
vemur, et morihus." 


In the Mass for holy Saturday, as contained in the Roman Missal, 
the secreta supposes that ohlationes hostiariim have been made by 
the faithful; and it must reasonably be supposed that these hosts 
were offered in order that they might be consecrated and received 
in holy Communion. The post-communio of this Mass supposes 
others besides the celebrant of the Mass sacramentis paschalibus 
satiatos esse. 

Against Benedict XIV, who says that the custom of not receiving 
holy Communion on holy Saturday is common throughout the 
Church, it is maintained that the custom is not general. There are 
many cities and dioceses where the custom of receiving holy Com- 
munion on holy Saturday has been established from time immemo- 
rial, "ut quotannis ego fieri video hie in civitate Parisiensi," says 
Father Many, S.S., Professor of Canon Law at S. Sulpice, Paris 
(Praelectiones de Missa, p. 315). 

Many authors, as Merati, Cavalieri, St. Alfonsus, etc., say that 
where there is question of acts within the discretion of the agent, 
that is to say of acts that may be performed or omitted as one 
pleases, the omission of the act, even if continued for a long time, 
does not establish a custom against the act, unless the act was dis- 
continued expressly for the purpose and with the intention of create 
ing an obligation to discontinue the act. Such an intention is never 
taken for granted, but must be proven to have existed. To prove 
it, however, is extremely difficult. 

"Quando agitur de actibus mere facultativis, id est, qui ad libitum 
poili vel omitti possunt, ut est communio in sabbato sancto, omissio 
actuum, etiam per longum tempus protracta, non inducit consuetu- 
dinem, nisi omittantur cum intentione inducendae ohligationis, quae 
difficile demonstratur et nunquam praesumitur" {ibid., p. 316. Reii^ 
fenstuhl, in tit. De consuetudine, n. 129-130). 



Therefore, although it may be true that there exists in many 
places a custom of not receiving holy Communion on holy Saturday, 
nevertheless we are not warranted in attaching to such a custom 
a binding force, neither in the places where the custom does not 
exist, nor even for the districts where it does exist. 

O'Kane, in his treatise on the rubrics, p. 290, considering the 
various decrees of the Congregation of Rites on this matter, en- 
deavors to reconcile their apparent contradictions by saying that 
holy Communion may be freely administered on holy Saturday after 
Mass, hut not during Mass, unless there he a custom in favor of it. 
It can not, however, he continues, he administered before Mass, as 
the permission does not extend to this, and the rubrics of the missal 
clearly suppose that before Mass there are no particles consecrated, 
except those reserved for the sick. Nor is the ciborium brought 
back to the tabernacle until after the Mass. 

With this latter statement, that holy Communion should not be 
given before the Mass on holy Saturday, we fully agree. No au- 
thority justifies such a practise, and, furthermore, it is not in keeping 
with the rubrics of the Mass for the day. 

Father Noldin, S.J., says: 

"Licet autem hac die sacram communionem distribuere fidelibus 
etiam ad satisfaciendum pracepto paschali, tum intra missam 
solemnem, tum extra eam, non tamen ante sonum campanarum; 
etenim post cantatum Gloria, cessat prohibitio distribuendi s. com- 
munionem fidelibus" (De Euch,, n. 202). 

This is not altogether correct, because the decree of the Sacred 
Congregation of Rites of March 22, 1806, to which he appeals for 
his assertion that Communion may be given during the Mass and 
after it, on holy Saturday, was issued to a parish where the custom 
existed for a long time, and the second decree of the Congregation 


of Rites, July 28, 1821, which he cites says nothing about holy Com- 
munion on holy Saturday. 

To sum up, therefore, we think that it is not permitted to give 
holy Communion to the faithful before the Mass on holy Saturday. 
There is no doubt but that holy Saturday was formerly a non- 
liturgical day on which it was forbidden to say Mass or to com- 
municate the faithful. The Mass, however, of holy Saturday night, 
being advanced to holy Saturday morning, is the only reason for 
advancing the Communion of the faithful that was given in it. 
It would seem to follow, therefore, that the Communion should not 
be advanced to an earlier hour than the Mass itself. This is also in 
keeping with the rubrics of the Mass of holy Saturday, and there 
is no decree of the Congregation of Rites authorizing it. 

But the same cannot be said against distributing holy Communion 
to the faithful during the Mass, or after it. No decree of tlie 
Sacred Congregation positively forbids it. It is clearly permitted 
wherever the custom prevails of giving it. In fact the decree of 
March 22, 1806, may be construed, and by some is construed, so 
as to permit it, whether the custom exist or not. Therefore, in 
practise we consider it lawful to give holy Communion during the 
Mass, and after the Mass, on holy Saturday, but not before it. 


Among the faculties of the diocese, granted to all the clergy, is one 
permitting them to anticipate matins and lauds of the morrow's of- 
fice, at two o'clock in the afternoon of the preceding day, legitima 
concurrente causa. By virtue of this faculty, Fr. X. has formed the 
habit of anticipating matins and lauds every day at two o'clock, 
whether he has a sufificient reason or not. Generally speaking, he 
has a sufficient reason; however, there are days when he does not 
seem to have any other reason than the mere habit. Now, is the 
habit alone, independent of any other reason, a legitimate excuse for 
anticipating the recitation of matins and lauds at two o'clock in the 
afternoon of the preceding day? And if it is not, and if there is 
no other legitimate reason for anticipating the office at two o'clock, 
would the recitation of matins and lauds at that hour be, neverthe- 
less, valid, even though illicit, or does the law of the Church require 
in such a case that the matins and lauds be repeated ? 

Answer. — The universal custom prevailing in the Church to-day, 
and which has the sanction of law, permits the recitation of 
matins and lauds of the next day's office, on the afternoon of the 
preceding day, quando sol medium cursum tenet inter meridiem et 
occasum; that is to say, when the sun is half way between the 
meridian and the western horizon. As this time varies according 
to the different seasons of the year, a calendar is found in the brevi- 
ary, indicating the precise hour at which the matins and lauds may 
be anticipated for every month of the year. Thus while in the 
month of December matins and lauds for the following day may 
be anticipated at two o'clock in the afternoon of the preceding 



day, in the month of June they may not be anticipated before four 
o'clock, because the course of the sun between the meridian and 
the horizon for Italy and Western Europe, where the custom origi- 
nated, is four hours shorter in the month of December than in the 
month of June. 

But many and grave theologians maintain that nowadays matins 
and lauds may be anticipated at two o'clock in the afternoon of the 
preceding day, every day in the year, apart from any special privi- 
lege or faculty, and that the anticipated recitation of matins and 
lauds at that hour is always and under all circumstances valid, i. e., 
need not be repeated, even though recited without a legitimate 
reason, and if there be a legitimate reason, the recitation will also 
be licit. This opinion is conceded by all to be at least probable, 
both by reason of the arguments advanced in its support, as well as 
by the weight of the authorities who support it. Among those 
who maintain it we find such names as Salmanticenses, Sanchez, 
Viva, Ballerini-Palmieri, D'Annibale, Sabetti, Bucceroni, Genicot, 
Noldin, etc., etc. Moreover, as often as the Holy See has been 
petitioned to give an authoritative answer to this question, it has 
steadfastly refused to settle the difficulty and invariably refers the 
petitioner ad probatos auctores. Now as many of these approved 
authors, to whom we are referred by the Holy See, maintain that 
it is lawful to anticipate matins and lauds at two o'clock in the 
afternoon, every day in the year, it follows that it is lawful to do 
so as long as the Holy See does not expressly condemn it, because 
the Holy See is perfectly cognizant that many and grave theologians 
hold that it is lawful to anticipate the office at two o'clock, every 
day in the year, without any special permission. It may be re- 
marked in passing, that permission is sometimes given by the Holy 
See to anticipate matins and lauds at one o'clock in the afternoon, 


and the priests of St. John of God have the special privilege of 
anticipating the office even at noon of the preceding day. 

If we examine more closely the reasons which induce these 
theologians to maintain that the office may be anticipated every day 
in the year at two o'clock in the afternoon, we find them to be some- 
what as follows : At first, we know, matins and lauds were recited 
during the night preceding the day on which the rest of the office 
was to be said. The first nocturn was said at nine o'clock at night, 
the second at midnight, and the third at three o'clock in the morn- 
ing, followed by lauds toward the dawn. The night was divided 
into vigils, as the day was divided into hours, and each vigil and 
each hour had its own prayer. (Cf. Cath, Encycl. art. Breviary.) 
By degrees, however, the custom grew up of reciting the matins 
and lauds of the next day's office after sunset on the preceding 
day, t. e., at the end of the evening or eventide or at nightfall. 
Gradually, however, even this time was anticipated and the custom 
grew of reciting matins and lauds of the next day's office, not at 
the end of the evening, but at its beginning; that is, when the sun 
was half way between the meridian and the western horizon. 

Finally, the last stage in the development of this custom of antici- 
pating matins and lauds was reached when, instead of reckoning 
the evening according to the divisions of the natural day, the clergy 
began to compute the evening according to the ecclesiastical day, and 
as the evening of the ecclesiastical day began at the hour when it was 
customary to recite vespers in choir, it became customary to antici- 
pate matins and lauds of the next day's office as soon as vespers 
were recited in choir. As the hour for reciting vespers in choir 
was advanced, the hour also of anticipating matins and lauds was 
advanced. And, as at the present time it is the custom throughout 
the Latin Church to recite vespers in choir at two o'clock in the 


afternoon, so also it is the custom to recite matins and lauds at about 
the same hour. Because, according- to the method or system of 
computing- time in this matter, as adopted by the Church, as soon 
as vespers are over in choir the day is ended and the time follow- 
ing vespers belongs to the next day, and matins and lauds of the next 
day's office may be recited. St. Thomas says : 

"Quantum ad ecclesiasticum oiUcium, incipit dies a vesperis ; unde 
si aliquis post dictas vesperas ct completorium dicat matutinum, jam 
hoc pertinet ad diem seqnentem" (Quodlib v, art. 28). 

Of course there are many theologians who deny that a priest 
satisfies the obligation of the ofHce, if he anticipates matins and 
lauds every day in the year at two o'clock, without a special per- 
mission from the Holy See. In fact, St. Alphonsus calls their 
opinion the m.ore common opinion of theologians, and the one, in 
his estimation, nearer the truth. Nevertheless, with the array of 
theologians we have already cited in favor of the opposite opinion, 
and in view of the arguments they advance in its support, it can 
not be denied that this opinion is solidly probable, both internally 
and externally, and may be followed in practise by any priest, 
tut a conscientia. 

This position seems also to be supported by the answers of the 
Congregation of Rites. That Sacred Congregation, when asked : 

"Quanam hora liceat incipere privatam recitationem matutini cum 
laudibus vespcre diei praecedentisf" returned the following answer, 
March 16, 1876: 

"Privatam recitationem matutini cum laudibus vespere diet praece- 
dentis incipi posse, quando sol medium cursum tenet inter meridiem 
et occasum." 

Asked again: "Utrum in privata recitatione matutini pro inse- 
quente die incipi possit hora secunda pomeridiana, aut standum sit 


tabellae direct orii dioecesani omni tempore?" the Sacred Congrega- 
tion, on May 12, 1905, returned the following reply : "Consulantur 
probati auctores." 

From these two replies of the Congregation of Rites we gather: 
first, that if the opinion which permits the anticipation of matins 
and lauds at two o'clock on the preceding day were devoid of 
all probability, the Holy See would long since have condemned it; 
and secondly, since the Congregation of Rites refers us to approved 
authors to determine whether it be lawful to anticipate the office at 
two o'clock of the preceding day, and since many of these approved 
authors maintain that it is permitted to anticipate, without any spe- 
cial permission, at two o'clock in the afternoon of the preceding 
day, the matins and lauds of the following day's office, we logically 
conclude that the Holy See approves the practise. 

As regards Fr. X.'s practise of anticipating matins and lauds every 
day at two o'clock, we do not see how it can be condemned. Some- 
times, he says, he has a sufficient reason and sometimes he has no 
reason but the habit. In that case the habit is a legitimate reason. 
It must be kept in mind that, in the private recitation of the office, 
the observance of the canonical time or hour binds only sub levL 
Therefore, a levis ratio will excuse from all sin. But the conve- 
nience that arises from the hahit of anticipating the office at two 
o'clock is a levis ratio, and, therefore, justifies the anticipation at 
that hour. Under no circumstances would Fr. X. be bound sub gravi 
to repeat matins and lauds, said at two o'clock without any reason 


The grandfather of a young priest is dying. He was born and 
brought up a Methodist, and desires to die in the same faith. He 
has lived a good and conscientious Hfe and has kept the Command- 
ments the best he knew liow. He has always manifested considerable 
affection for his grandson, the young priest, but has never given 
any sign or indication that he believed in the Catholic Church or 
desired the ministrations of her priest. He is now close to death, 
but his sentiments remain the same. He is evidently going to die 
in the faith of his forebears. His grandson, the young priest, is 
very much concerned for his grandfather's salvation. He would 
like very much to absolve him conditionally and even to anoint him 
if it were lawful. Would it be right or of any benefit to this dying 
man, under the circumstances, for his grandson, the priest, to ab- 
solve him or to anoint him ? 

Answer. — The case here submitted for consideration is the case 
of a baptized non-CathoHc man, who is in the full possession of 
his faculties and who is very near death. If the man were unbap- 
tized (and there are so many unbaptized Protestants in the world 
to-day) the case would have to be treated in a different way than it 
is treated here. Also if the man were unconscious, even though 
validly baptized, the treatment of the case would differ from what is 
here given. This is the case, therefore, of a validly baptized Protes- 
tant, in the full possession of his senses, who is in good faith as re- 
gards his religion, and who is very near death. May a priest 
absolve him sub conditione, and might he even be anointed? 

Theologians do not seem to agree as to whether such a man, under 




the circumstances, may be absolved and anointed or not. First, as 
regards the absolution. Fr, Gury says that such a man may be ab- 
solved even though, through ignorance, he should entertain a horror 
for Confession and the Sacrament of Penance, provided only that he 
would receive the Sacrament of Penance if he knew it to be of 
divine precept, and that he be sorry for his sins and that he ask 
God's pardon. To absolve such a man, Fr. Gury says, was the 
general practise of priests in Germany and Switzerland in his day 
(Gas. i, 190). 

Fr. Berardi, the Italian theologian, says that whatever might 
be the case in Germany or Switzerland, such a man ought not to be 
absolved, if the case happened in Italy. "Quidquid sit de Germania 
et Helvetia, certo apud nos haec disciplina non adest, ut bene 
observat S. Lig. n. 483 ; unde illos absolvere non deberemus" 
(Praxis conf., p. 639). 

Fr. Lehmkuhl thinks that in a case like the one here under con- 
sideration the priest should endeavor to get the dying man to make 
an act of perfect contrition as well as acts of faith and hope ; then, 
if he can be induced to acknowledge himself a sinner before God, 
and to express sorrow for his sins, he may be absolved condi- 
tionally and secretly, provided he desire the priest to help him, 
in any way he may be able, to save his soul. It is useless, says Fr. 
Lehmkuhl, to ask the man whether he would be willing to make a 
confession to a priest, if he knew it were the will of God that he 
should do so, because it is not a question of what the dying man 
would do, but of what he does actually desire. 

"Si autem tractandum est cum acatholico (baptizato) sensibus 
non destituto quem propter instantem mortem et propter peri- 
cuium inducendi gravem tentationem, cui forte succumbat, non 
possint prudenter aperte monere de vera Ecclesia: ante omnia 


contritio perfecta cum aliis actibus praeviis elicienda est; dein ut 
dari possit clam absolutio conditionata, praestat eum adducere, ut 
se peccatorem coram Deo et me declaret, et concepto dolore de 
peccatis, etiam declaret, sibi placere, ut per meum auxilium in asse- 
quenda melius vita aeterna, quantum possim, ipse adjuvetur. Nam 
quod aliquando dicitur proponendum illi esse, num, si sciret neces- 
sarium esse, vellet confiteri et absolvi, hoc in se nihil est; non enim 
quaeritur quid vellet, sed quid velit et re ipsa faciat" (vol. II, n. 
515). Schieler-Heuser takes the same view of this case as Fr. Lehm- 
kuhl, Ballerini, and others. He says : "In such a case it is, of 
course, more difficult to produce anything out of the past life which 
can, in any way, be construed as a confession and a desire for abso- 
lution, unless we are to be content with the man's bona iides, "quant 
probabiliter adesse seu adfuisse externe sit manifestatum." For if to 
this bona fides sorrow has been added — and it is not certain that it 
has not been added — it seems that there is implicite, the manifested 
desire to participate in those remedies which are necessary, and, 
therefore, in the absolution of the priest. If we have here, with 
Ballerini, Lehmkuhl, and Aertnys, proceeded to the utmost limits, 
and if the arguments in favor of this extreme liberality in the ad- 
ministration of absolution are not always cogent, let us not be 
accused of laxity or of any want of reverence for the holy Sacra- 
ment of Penance. Such liberality seems to have been fully intended 
by Him "who came to seek and to save that which was lost," and 
who wishes not the death of the sinner; who opened the gates of 
paradise even to the thief on the cross, and who has placed the keys 
of heaven in our hands. We safeguard the sanctity of the holy 
Sacrament by adding the condition, and the Lord instituted His 
Sacraments for man ; "in extremis autern extrema tentanda sunt." 
("Theory and Practise of the Confessional," p. 652.) 



St. Alphonsus does not justify this practise, as may be seen by 
consulth.g his treatise on confession, n. 483, where he says : 
"Heretici enim, etiamsi in eo casu dent signa poenitentiae, non 
debent absolvi, nisi expresse absokitionem petant, quia tales nun- 
quam prudenter praesumi valent ea signa praebere in ordine ad 
confessionem, a qua summopere abhorrent." However, when we 
consider that theologians Hke Lacroix, Reuter, Noldin, Genicot. 
D'Annibale, Lehmkuhl, etc., hold and teach that it would be lawful 
and prudent in the above case for the young priest to absolve his 
grandfather, we do not see how he can have any scruples about 
doing so, scrvatis scrvandis. 

But as regards the administration of Extreme Unction to such a 
person, it seems to be the general opinion of theologians that it is 
not lawful, as long as the patient is in the possession of his facul- 
ties and conscious, because it is not a necessary means of salvation 
in that case, and can scarcely be given without serious scandal. 
To quote again from Lehmkuhl : 

"Imo in iis hereticis baptizatis, quos in bona fide versari sumi 
potest, fortasse remedium reconciliationis erit, applicabile utique 
tantum., si sensibus destituti fuerint atque si externae sint condi- 
tiones ejusmodi, ut sine majoris mali-periculo haec adjumenta ad- 
hiberi valeant; quamquam etiam quoad hoc remedium satis dubium 
est, num in piis illorum hominum actibus, sufficiens intentio con- 
tineatur." (Ext. Unct., n. 568.) If, before dying, the grandfather 
should remain unconscious for some time, his grandson might, 
therefore, anoint him, doing so secretly, which he easily could do, 
being his grandson, in order not to give any scandal. The admin- 
istration of Extreme Unction to dying non-Catholics will more 
easily cause scandal than the administration of either Baptism or 


A young unmarried girl is criminally with child. Her mother 
sends her to a lying-in hospital in a distant city before anything is 
known by the neighbors of her condition. The mother pretends to 
her other children and to the neighbors that her daughter is em- 
ployed in a store in New York. She tells them frankly that she 
is. After the birth of the daughter's baby and before her return 
home, the mother tells the neighbors that her daughter does not 
like New York and is coming home. Finally the daughter arrives 
home and continues the deception, giving many details of her 
"store experience" in New York and what she thought of the city. 
Of course she had not been in New York at all. Is it lawful for the 
mother and daughter to say these things which they know are un- 
true, and to deceive others, even though their object in practising 
this deception is quite good and praiseworthy ? Is it not making the 
end justify the means and doing evil that good may come from it? 

Answer. — A writer in the review Ami du Clerge some years ago 
said well : There is no matter in moral theology so involved and so 
headsplitting as the theory of lying. "II n'est pas des matieres en 
morale aussi emhrouillees, aussi casse-tete que la theorie du men- 
songe." The source of all the difficulty seems to be the definition 
of a lie, as generally accepted by the theologians. That definition 
was first given by St. Augustine and from him has been adopted 
by practically all Catholic theologians. St. Augustine defines a lie 
as locutio contra mentem. This definition, I say, has been adopted 
by the Latin fathers and by Catholic theologians generally. Cardi- 
nal Newman says : "The Greek fathers thought that, when there was 
a justa causa an untruth need not he a lie. St. Augustine took 
another view, though with great misgiving; and whether he is 




rightly interpreted or not, is the doctor of the great and common 
view that all untruths are lies, and that there can be no just cause 
of untruth." (Apologia, Note G.) The principle that it is never 
allowed to tell a lie, seems to be deep seated in the human con- 
science and to be admitted by all, just as it is universally admitted 
that it is not allowed to steal, or to murder. There can be no 
quarrel about the principle. It is only when we come to define a lie 
that the trouble begins. If it be admitted that all lying is sinful, 
and if we accept St. Augustine's definition of a lie, as Catholic 
moralists generally do, locutio contra mentem ad decipiendum pro- 
lata, then it follows that every time we speak contrary to what is 
in our mind for the purpose of deceiving others, we lie and, there- 
fore, we commit sin. But it is admitted, on the other hand, by all 
moralists that there are cases when it is permitted to say the thing 
that is not in our mind, even with the intention of deceiving others, 
and according to the definition just given, that would be a lie. 
For instance, there are times when it is impossible to keep a secret 
that must be kept at all hazards, except by saying the thing that is 
not in our mind. Of course the theologians were perfectly cog- 
nizant of this all the while, but still the definition of a lie, borrowed 
from St. Augustine, had taken such deep root in Catholic theology 
that it could not easily be retouched or revised. On the one hand 
they admitted that the definition made all speaking contrary to 
what was in the speaker's mind, a He; but on the other hand they 
could not deny that there were cases when it was lawful to say the 
thing that was not in one's mind. To save the definition, and at the 
same time to save the truth, the theologians were compelled to in- 
vent the artificial theory of mental reservations. Though elaborated 
with great skill and ingenuity, the theory is quite artificial and in- 
vented solely for the purpose of permitting one to do that which one 


was clearly bound to do, but which the doctrine of lyin^, as gen- 
erally expounded, seemed to condemn. "In these later times," says 
Card. Newman, "this doctrine (of St. Augustine) has been found 
diMcuIt to work, and it has been largely taught tJiat though all 
untruths are lies, yet that certain equivocations, when there is a 
just cause, are not untruths." 

Archbishop Kenrick says: "It is confessed by all Catholics that 
in the common intercourse of life all ambiguity of language is to 
be avoided; but it is debated whether such ambiguity is ever law- 
ful. Most theologians answer in the affirmative, supposing a grave 
cause urges, and the true mind of the speaker can be collected from 
the adjuncts, though in fact it be not collected." 

To use mental reservations or equivocations without a just and 
sufficient cause is sinful. But when it becomes necessary to dis- 
semble or to mislead in order to keep a secret or to repel an im- 
pertinent inquirer, or when dealing with children, it is lawful to 
equivocate, or rather to play upon words or to use evasions. This 
is the ordinary doctrine given in the text-books of moral theology. 
Objection has been made to the whole theory of mental reserva- 
tion on the ground that it is an artificial system, suited only to the 
learned and the cultivated, but of no avail for the simple minded 
and the ignorant. Thus, while the learned and the ignorant speak 
the same thing, the learned and quick-witted save themselves from 
the sin of lying by using a mental reservation, while the simple 
and ignorant, not versed in the theory of mental reservation, find 
themselves in the necessity of telling a lie. 

Fr. Genicot says that we need not find fault if the simple 
minded and uneducated call a lazvfv.l lie what the theologians call a 
broad mental reservation (Moral I, p. 378). Of course the diffi- 
culty remains that these same simple minded and uneducated peo- 


pie don't know that there are lawful lies. They think every lie is 
a sin, and still they feel compelled sometimes to tell lies or un- 
truths as the only means left them for concealing the truth or for 
keeping a secret. 

Fr. Berardi has this to say on the subject: "The theologians 
seem to have experienced an excessive fear of these condemna- 
tions (three propositions regarding lying condemned by Pope In- 
nocent XI, 1679), and introduced into this matter incredible confu- 
sion. They first of all taught that a strict mental reservation could 
never, for no object whatever, become lawful, because it is always 
a lie and intrinsically evil. They say that a mental reservation 
in a strict or narrow sense is one whose meaning can not, morally 
speaking, be detected, as for example, if one, when asked if Peter 
is alive, should answer: "No, he is dead," meaning civilly dead, 
either by reason of some crime or because he has entered a religious 
order. But then they admit that it would not be making use of a 
strict mental reservation if an adulteress should maintain that she 
was innocent of adultery when questioned about it (meaning that 
she had been made innocent by sacramental confession!), or that 
she had never committed adultery (meaning by adultery, idolatry!) 
(S. Alf. Ill, 162). How does this square with the definition 
of a pure mental reservation, just given, which the theologians 
say is never allowed ? If they had said that the woman could deny 
her sin, at the same time using the reservation "that I should tell 
you," I would not find fault. But that they should deny that a 
pure mental reservation, or one whose sense can not be divined, is 
sufficient to excuse a lie and a sin, and nevertheless concede that 
these same reservations are no longer purely or strictly mental, but 
intelligible, that is something that I can not understand" (Praxis 
Conf. I, 1092). 


If a theologian as competent as Berardi finds difficulty in apply- 
ing practically the theory of mental reservation, it will be readily 
understood how the simple and ignorant are quite unable to use it 
as a means of concealing a truth or keeping a secret from those 
who have no right to know it. In the face of this insurmountable 
difficulty many moralists think that the definition of a lie, as com- 
monly given in the text-book ought to be revised ; that is to say, 
it ought to be made to read something like this : A lie consists in 
speaking contrary to one's mind, with the intention of deceiving 
one who has a right to the truth. If the person has no right to the 
truth it ought not to be called a lie if the truth is concealed from 
him by saying the thing that is not in one's mind. 

Such speaking against one's mind might be called an untruth, 
but not a lie. Not every taking of human life is murder, and 
not every taking of another's goods is stealing, and, therefore, 
not every speaking contrary to one's mind ought to be called lying. 
As there is taking of human life that is justifiable, and, therefore, 
not sinful, and as there is taking of another's property that is not 
stealing, and, therefore, not a sin, so there must be untruths that 
are not lies and, therefore, not sinful. There are many occasions 
when a person has no right to know the truth and to deny the truth 
to such a person is justifiable and, therefore, not sinful. 

Of course there is a difficulty here in the case of exceptions to 
the rule of veracity, and it is "that very little external help is given 
us in drawing the line as to when untruths are allowable and when 
not; whereas that sort of killing which is not murder is most defi- 
nitely marked off by legal enactments, so that it can not possibly be 
mistaken for such killing as is murder. On the other hand the 
cases of exemption from the rule of veracity are left to the private 
judgment of the individual, and he may easily be led on from acts 


which are allowable to acts which are not. . . . If I had my 
own way I would oblige society, that is, its great men, its lawyers, 
its divines, its literature, publicly to acknowledge as such, those 
instances of untruth which are not lies, as for instance, untruths 
in war; and then there could be no perplexity to the individual 
Catholic, for he would not be taking the law into his own hands" 
(Card. Newman). 

If this woman and her daughter thought that it was lawful for 
them, under the circumstances, to say something that was not 
true, in order to hide the truth from those who had no right to 
know it, then we would say that they told an untruth, but not a lie, 
or if a lie, then only a material lie. Murder is the formal transgres- 
sion of the commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," but accidental 
homicide is the material transgression. The matter of the act is the 
same in both cases ; but in the homicide there is nothing more than 
the act ; whereas in murder there must be the intention, which con- 
stitutes the formal sin. So a man who simply to keep himself from 
starving takes a loaf that is not his own commits only the material, 
and not the formal, act of stealing, that is, he does not commit a sin. 

So we say, that if a person says something that is not true in 
order to keep a secret that must be kept, then such a person com- 
mits the material, but not the formal, act of lying. "If I allow of 
silence, why not of the method of material lying, since half of a 
truth is often a lie? And, again, if all killing be not murder, nor 
all taking from another stealing, why must all untruths be lies? 
Now I will say freely that I think it difficult to answer this question, 
whether it be urged by St. Clement or by Milton" (Card. Newman, 
Apol., Note G). 


In a certain parish, where it is difficult to enforce the civil law, the 
illegal sale of intoxicating liquors was causing much trouble, and 
in particular it had a baneful eflfect on the morals of the young peo- 
ple. The parish priest, in order to put a stop to this illegal liquor 
traffic, asked the civil authorities to take action in the matter, and 
caused B and other witnesses to be subpoenaed to give their evi- 
dence in court, on a certain day, against A, an illegal liquor dealer. 
On the day appointed for the court none of the witnesses appeared. 
Some of the witnesses were willing to appear, but both A and B 
persuaded all the witnesses not to appear at the court. This caused 
some trouble and expense to the civil authorities. Warrants were 
issued for the arrest of all the witnesses. Some of them were ar- 
rested and fined, but B and others escaped. Evidence enough was 
obtained to convict A. 

Now B comes to Confession, but the priest refuses him absolution 
until he would consent to make some settlement with the civil 
authorities. B refuses to do this. Then the priest offers B that he 
will intercede with the civil authorities in his behalf so that they 
would be as lenient with him as possible, but B refuses to submit 
under any consideration, and says that he is satisfied if the civil 
authorities will take him by force. 

Did the priest act right or wrong in refusing him absolution? 

Anszuer. — Strictly speaking, we think the priest exceeded his 
powers when he refused absolution to B because B refused to make 
restitution to the civil authorities for the expense his refusal to 
testify caused them. B was subpoenaed by lawful authority to ap- 
pear in court and give evidence against an illegal liquor dealer. 




The cause was a just cause, the public good. Therefore, B was 
bound in conscience to obey the summons. In fact, objectively 
speaking, he was bound sub gravi to obey the mandate of the court 
or of the grand jury and to appear in court and to tell what he knew. 
Of this there is no doubt. In a grave matter we are obliged to 
obey sub gravi legitimately constituted authority, when there is no 
sufficient reason for refusing to obey. In the present instance we 
suppose that B had no good and sufficient reason for refusing to 
give his evidence against the liquor dealer. He might have had 
what seemed to him a good reason for not appearing, but we sup- 
pose that he did not have any such reason. He was bound, there- 
fore, in conscience, sub gravi, to obey the subpoena, and to go into 
court and to testify. He was bound by the virtue of obedience to do 
so. The civil authorities had a right to subpoena him. He, on his 
part, had a corresponding obligation to obey, and that obligation 
was binding in conscience. B was also bound to obey the sum- 
mons of the magistrate by reason of the obligation laid on him 
by the virtue of legal justice. Every citizen is bound to render to 
the State his just share of service in order to promote the public 
good. Among these services is the duty of serving on juries and 
appearing as a witness, when commanded by the civil authorities to 
do so. All this, of course, is known and admitted by all. B was 
guilty, theoretically or objectively, of a grave sin of disobedience 
to lawful authority in refusing to obey the court in a grave matter. 
But obedience and legal justice do not impose an obligation of resti- 
tution, if they are violated. B was guilty of a sin of disobedience 
and of neglect of his civil duties, but to hold him bound to make 
restitution, one would have to show that B in refusing to testify, 
violated also the virtue of strict commutative justice. For only 
those who violate commutative justice are bound to restitution. 


The question, therefore, arises : Did B, by refusing to testify when he 
was summoned by lawful authority to do so, violate the virtue of 
commutative justice, and make himself responsible thereby for the 
expenses his refusal to testify caused the court in securing the 
liquor dealer's conviction ? St. Liguori, De Lugo, Lessius, etc., etc., 
maintain that B in refusing to obey the summons of the court 
sinned against charity, or against obedience, or against legal justice, 
but not against commutative justice, and that, therefore, he incurred 
no obligation to make restitution for any expense caused to others. 
B would not be bound to make any restitution, even though through 
his refusal to obey the court's summons and to testify, an innocent 
defendant might lose his suit and incur heavy damage. According 
to these theologians the mandate of the court or the subpoena im- 
poses an obligation of obedience, but not of justice, and whoever 
disobeys it commits a sin of disobedience, but not of injustice. The 
words of St. Liguori are : 

"An teneatur ad restitutionem testis, qui fugit post citationem ? 

"Affirmant Sotus, Sanchez, etc., etc., quia eo ipso, quo testis est 
citatus, tenetur ex justitia testimonium dicere; prout si judex prae- 
cipit alicui, ut proferat scripturam ad causam pertinentem, tenetur 
ipse ex justitia illam exhibere, alias debet damnum parti restituere. . 
Negant vero communius et probabilius idem Lugo, et Molina, et 
probabile putant Bonacina ac Lessius cum Sylvio. Ratio est quia 
citatio ilia non imponit obligationem justitiae, sed tantum obedien- 
tiae. Nee obstat paritas allata scripturae proferendae : nam bene 
respondet Lessius quod scriptura ilia sine dubio ex justitia proferri 
debet, cum sit res externa de qua respublica juste potest disponerc, 
sicut de aliis bonis civium, quando oportet ad jus illorum tuendum: 
non sic de obligatione testificandi" (lib. 5, c. 3, 270). 

Pe Lugo admits that if a witness gives false evidence in civil 


or criminal suits and thereby injures another, he sins against justice 
and is bound to make restitution. But when a witness acts merely in 
a negative manner, that is to say, when he refuses to testify or 
conceals the truth and thereby injures another, does such a witness 
sin not only against obedience and charity, but also against justice, 
and is he bound in conscience to make restitution? "Communior 
sententia," says De Lugo, "docet peccare contra justitiam, et cum 
onere restituendi, ita Sotus, Navarrus et alii. Hinc inferunt multi, 
idem esse de teste, quern judex vult citare, ipse autem de industria 
se abscondit, ne possit illi praeceptum judicis intimari : vel saltern 
postquam citatiis est, dolose eludit citationem ne compareat^ vel 
postquam comparuit, ne interrogetur, ita Sanchez, Alii docent, hoc 
non esse peccatum contra justitiam commutativam, sed contra chari- 
tatem, contra obedientiam, vel contra justitiam legalem, aut contra 
religionem juramenti ; atque ideo non afiferre debitum restituendi. 
Hanc dicit esse probabilem Lessius, et ipse videtur in eam inclinare, 
non tamen audet definire. Eamdem docet expresse Molina," etc. 

This latter opinion De Lugo calls verior, because although a 
witness has been subpoenaed to testify, still the law does not bind 
him or constrain him as yet; imo hoc ipsum admittit (Malderus). 
in eo ciii jam legitime insinuata est judicis citatio, et falsa praetextu 
apposuit impedimentum, ut se excusaret. Even if the witness should 
appear in court and were examined or questioned by the judge, De 
Lugo holds that he would be bound to testify to the truth only by 
reason of his oath or on account of the command of the court, non 
tenetur aliunde testari verum, nisi vel ex religione juramenti, vel 
ex praecepto judicis; ergo tacendo veritatem non peccat contra 
aliam virtutem. It can not be affirmed of the witness, as it can 
of the judge, that his office of witness obliges him to testify to the 
truth. The judge has a quasi-contract binding in justice to inves- 



tigate the truth, once he accepts the office of judge. The witness, 
on the contrary, refuses to accept the office of witness in our case, 
and sins by disobedience in thus refusing, but does not sin against 
justice, since he refuses the office of witness. 

Now some will say that, although a witness refuses to testify, 
even though subpoenaed, still the State may supply for him the 
consent which he refuses, and thus he does in reality assume the 
office and duties of a witness, even against his will, because the 
State supplies his consent. The State can do this in the transfer 
of property and why not in imposing on him the duty of giving 
evidence? This, says Lugo, would be satis durum et novum, quod 
respuhlica seu magistratus imponat subditis ohligationem de justitia 
circa actiones personales. . . . Non ergo videtur dicendum 
quod judex possit obligate testes ex justitia ad ferendum testimo- 
nium sed solum ex obedientia. 

The conclusion that De Lugo arrives at, after much discussion, is 
this : 

"Habemus ergo testem non testificantem peccare quidem contra 
obedientiam, non contra justitiam, et ideo non teneri ad restitu- 
tionem, nisi positive falsum testificando, fuerit causa damni illati" 
(De Lugo, de justitia et jure, disp. 39, sect. i). 

B is not answerable for the damage or expense that his refusal to 
testify may have caused the town authorities or private individuals. 
The priest, therefore, could not lawfully condition the absolution 
upon the restitution of the penitent. B refused to accept the office 
of witness which the magistrate sought to impose on him by sub- 
poenaing him ; therefore, B had no quasi-contract, binding in justice 
and entailing restitution, to give evidence against the liquor dealer. 
In refusing to accept such office, he may have sinned against obedi- 
ence and legal justice or the duties of a good citizen, but he did not 



sin against commutative justice ; and the violation of commutative 
justice alone entails the obligation of making restitution. If B were 
duly sorry for his sin of disobedience, if he looked on it as a sin, and 
were otherwise disposed, he had a right to receive absolution. 


Several young men are ordained subdeacons between eight and 
nine o'clock in the morning, on the feast of St. Mark, the evange- 
list. They are not certain as to how much of the office they are 
obliged to say on that day. Some recited all the little hours that 
morning, before their ordination to the subdeaconate, as they did 
not know how else to employ their time. Others said Prime, 
Tierce and Sext, before receiving subdeaconate, while others 
thought themselves obliged to say the whole office for that day, 
from Matins on. Were those, who recited all four little hours be- 
fore their ordination to the subdeaconate, obliged to repeat any or 
all of them afterward, and, if obliged to repeat, where must they 
begin? Is there any reason for believing that the whole office for 
the day is obligatory on subdeacons, on the day that they receive 
subdeaconship ? Incidentally, how would you interpret the penance, 
nocturnuni talis diei, imposed on subdeacons? 

Ansiver. — The divine office is obligatory on subdeacons from the 
moment they receive the subdeaconate. Only that part of it, how- 
ever, is obligatory for them on the day of their subdeaconate, which 
corresponds to the canonical hour at which they were ordained.' 
Hence a subdeacon is bound to recite, on the day of his ordination 
to the subdeaconate, that part of the office which is recited in 
choir by those who are obliged to say the office in choir. La Croix 
thinks that if a subdeacon received his subdeaconate at eleven A. M. 
he would be bound to say only the vespers and compline of that 
day, as the little hours will already have been recited in choir by 
that time. St. Alphonsus, however, differs with La Croix on this 




point, maintaining that the subdeacon is bound to recite that part 
of the office which corresponds to the canonical hour of Sext; 
therefore, from Sext on. And this seems to be the better opinion, 
and the one generally followed. In the case of the young men 
ordained on St. Mark's feast, their obligation began before nine 
o'clock A.M., therefore they are obliged to recite Tierce, as that is 
the part of the Breviary that corresponds to the hour of nine o'clock 
in the morning. Originally the office was recited as follows : Matins 
were said immediately after midnight; Lauds were said at the 
dawn ; Prime after sunrise ; Tierce at nine o'clock in the morning ; 
Sext at noon; None at three o'clock in the afternoon; Vespers at 
sunset, and Compline at dusk. If the subdeaconate were not con- 
ferred until ten A.M. the office would be obligatory from Sext on. 
As regards the question as to whether the young men who recited 
all four little hours before receiving the subdeaconate, there exists 
a difference of opinion among theologians. Some theologians, as 
Tournely, Bonacina, La Croix, etc., maintain that the young men 
did not satisfy their obligation by reciting the little hours before 
ordination, because an obligation can not be satisfied before it is 
contracted. Now, these young men, at the time when they recited 
the little hours, were under no obligation to recite them. After- 
ward, from nine o'clock A. M. on, they are under an obligation to 
recite that part of the office that corresponds to that canonical hour 
of the day, namely, Tierce, which obligation has not yet been satis- 
fied. To this, Lugo, Tamburini, etc., make reply, that a debt may 
be paid by anticipation, when it is morally certain that it is going 
to be contracted. Both these opinions are probable, in the estima- 
tion of St. Liguori (lib, 5, c. 2, v. 140). 

Again it is urged that the subdeacon is obliged to recite the office 
'n the name of the Church, but a young man, before his deacon- 


ship, can not recite the office in the name of the Church, and, 
therefore, by such recitation, he does not satisfy the obHgation that 
is laid upon him later in the day. 

But to this it may be replied, says St, Liguori, that an excom- 
municated priest does not and can not pray in the name of the 
Church, and yet he is bound to say his office, and, by saying his 
office, he satisfies his obligation in this regard. Therefore, to 
satisfy the obligation of reciting the office, it is not necessary that 
it be recited in the name of the Church. And this opinion the holy 
doctor calls probable. These young men, therefore, who recited 
the little hours in the morning before their ordination to the sub- 
deaconate, can not, strictly speaking, be required to repeat any one 
of them, although they received subdeaconship about nine A. M. 
However, in practise, it is more adviseable to have them say, after 
their ordination, the hours of the Breviary that correspond to the 
hour of their ordination. Such a practise removes all scruples on 
this score, and quiets the conscience at a time when young men are 
apt to be worried by many false fears. 

There is no ground whatever for thinking that a newly ordained 
subdeacon is bound to recite the whole office of the day on which 
he receives subdeaconship. There may be subdeacons who, through 
overanxiety, reason themselves into such an obligation; but, as a 
matter of fact, the obligation does not exist, neither in law nor in 
fact. The reason is indicated above. 

The words, nocturnum talis diet, indicating the penance im- 
posed on the newly ordained subdeacon by the ordaining prelate, 
in gratitude for the order received, mean either the nocturn of the 
ferial office, or the first nocturn of the feast, or the first nocturn of 
the dominical office, accordingly as the ordination takes place, either 
on a feria, a feast day, or a Sunday. The Congregation of Rites 


August II, i860, answered: "Verba Pontificalis Romani nocturnum 
talis diei intellige de unico nocturne feriali, vel de primo dominicae, 
ut in Psalterio, i. e., duodecim Psalmorum cum suis antiphonis de 
tempore, quem Episcopus ordinans designare potest, vel ipsius diei, 
quo habet ordinationem, vel alterius, pro suo arbitrio. Quando 
vero Episcopus nihil aliud exprimit, quam id quod verba Pontifi- 
calis referunt, discendum est nocturnum feriae, quae respondeat illi 
diei, in quo facta sit ordinatio." That is to say, it is the ordaining 
prelate's privilege to determine the nocturn which the newly or- 
dained subdeacon is to say as a penance. But if the bishop simply 
repeats the words of the pontifical, nocturnum talis diei, he is to be 
understood as meaning the nocturn of the ferial office correspond- 
ing to the day of the ordination. For instance, if the ordination 
took place on a Thursday, on which the feast of an Apostle was 
celebrated, the nocturn would be the nocturn of the ferial office /^n"a^ 
quintae. This nocturn does not include the Pater, Ave, or Credo; 
nor does it include the invitatorium and hymn, or the lessons. It 
includes only the twelve psalms, with their proper antiphons. In 
the case submitted, the nocturn would be the first nocturn of the 
Dominical office for the second Sunday after Easter, as the feast of 
St. Mark fell on that Sunday this year. 


John and Mary, having made up their minds to get married, 
draw up a written engagement to that effect, signed by both of 
them. Informed, however, by Father B,, their parish priest, that 
such a document has no vahie in the eyes of the Church under the 
new marriage law, unless signed also by the ordinary of the diocese, 
or by the parish priest, or at least by two witnesses besides them- 
selves, they resolve to bring the document to Father B. so that 
he may add his signature. Accordingly they invite Father B. to 
dine with them and a party of friends at a country house, which 
John owns at some distance beyond the limits of Father B.'s parish, 
when the betrothal document is to be given to him to sign it. 
When the day appointed for the dinner arrived, Father B. was called 
elsewhere on important business, and he delegated his curate to 
take his place and to sign the written espousals between John and 
Mary. This the curate did, with much satisfaction to all concerned. 
Shortly after, however, John and Mary quarrelled about some mat-, 
ter of little importance, and John, without Mary's consent, even 
against her earnest protest, broke off his engagement to her, and 
sought the hand of her sister Margaret in marriage. Margaret 
lived in another town. She was fully advised about the engagement 
of her sister Mary to John. But being convinced that things were 
at an end between her sister and John, and believing that an alli- 
ance with John was something to be desired, Margaret agreed to 
marry him, provided there be no delay. To this John consents, and 
together they call upon Father W., parish priest of the town where 



Margaret lives, to make the necessary arrangements for a speedy 
marriage. Father W. knows nothing of John's former betrothal 
to Margaret's sister, but he refuses to marry Margaret and John, 
because of Margaret's youth. Hereupon Margaret and John framed 
a document purporting to be the written consent of Margaret's 
parents to the marriage and they forged Margaret's father's name 
to the document. Still Father W. refused to marry them. They 
now threaten that unless Father W. agrees to marry them, John 
will revoke a bequest of many thousands of dollars which he made 
to Father W.'s church, and which Father W. was very anxious to 
receive, as it would liquidate a heavy debt with which the church 
was burdened. Very much perturbed by this threat, and deceived 
by John and Margaret as to Margaret's parents, consent to the 
marriage, moreover ignorant of John's former betrothal to Mar- 
garet's sister Mary, Father W. finally consents, and marries Marga- 
ret to John in the chapel of a convent, situated within the limits of 
his parish, but altogether exempt from his jurisdiction, and having 
a chaplain of its own, who possesses the faculties and jurisdiction 
granted to rectores piorum locorum. This chaplain was absent at 
the time and knew nothing about the affair, but the superioress of 
the convent had gladly given her consent, as Margaret was a former 
pupil of the convent, and socially quite prominent. Are these 
espousals and this marriage valid or invalid? 

Answer. — We will take up, first, the question of the sponsalia, 
which John and Mary contracted in writing and which they signed 
and afterward presented to the delegated curate, who also signed 
for and in the name of Father B., the parish priest. These sponsalia 
were null and void in foro externo ecclesiae, under the provisions 
of the new marriage law "Ne temere," for three reasons, any one of 
which, of itself, was sufficient to invalidate the espousals. 


(a) It is required for the validity of espousals that they be signed 
simultaneously by the contracting parties and by the ordinary of the 
diocese or the parish priest, or at least by two witnesses, in the 
presence of one another. Asked recently "iitrum ad valida ineunda 
sponsalia partes teneantur subsignare scripturam unico contextu 
cum parocho sen Ordinario aut cum duobus testibus; an potius 
sufHciat ut scriptura, ab una parte cum parocho vel cum duobus 
testibus subsignata, remittatur ad alteram partem quae vicissim cum 
parocho vel cum duobus testibus subscribat," the Congregation of 
the Council, on July 27, 1908, answered: "Affirmative ad primam 
partem, negative ad secundam." The purpose of this requirement is 
to prevent fraud and deception, the same as the civil law requires 
that a last will and testament must be signed by the testator in the 
presence of the witnesses and by the witnesses in the presence of 
the testator and of one another. The espousals of John and Mary 
were not signed by them unico contextu with the parish priest; 
therefore, they were invalid. Recent commentaries, v. g., Noldin, 
Devine, etc., must be revised to agree with this decision. 

Cb) The sponsalia were invalid because they were not signed 
by the parish priest himself, but by his curate. The parish priest 
can not subdelegate his curate to sign the sponsalia. Neither caij 
the ordinary of the diocese delegate another to sign for him. In 
case either the bishop or the parish priest can not or do not sign 
the sponsalia, then two witnesses must sign. The question was pro- 
posed to the Congregation of the Council: "Ufrum sponsalia 
praeterquam coram Ordinario aut parocho, celebrari valeant etiam 
coram ab alterutro delegato" ; and the sacred Congregation an- 
swered, March 28, 1908: "Negative." The ordinary of the diocese 
and the parish priest are the authorised witnesses of the Church for 
this purpose, testis auctorisabilis or qualHicatus. The Church is 


willing to trust them, and to rely on what they do, but she is not 
willing to accept the testimony of one whom either of them may sub- 
delegate. In the absence of either the ordinary or the parish 
priest, the law requires that two witnesses shall sign the sponsalia, 
even though these witnesses be priests and delegated by the ordi- 
nary or the parish priest. There is a difference here between the 
sponsalia and the marriage under the new law. The ordinary or 
the parish priest may delegate another priest to assist at a marriage, 
provided it take place within their territory; but they can not dele- 
gate validly another priest to sign the written sponsalia, even though 
the document be signed within their territory. S. Congr. Concilii, 
die 4 Feb. 1908, ad VII. 

(c) The sponsalia were invalid, because the country house 
where they were signed was outside the limits of Father B.'s 
parish. Any ordinary of a diocese and any parish priest may sign 
the sponsalia, both validly and licitly, provided they sign within the 
territory subject to their jurisdiction. To the question: "Utrum 
sponsalia celebrari possint dumtaxat coram Ordinario vel parocho 
domicilii aut menstruae commorationis an etiam coram quolihet 
Ordinario aut parocho," the Congregation of the Council replied, 
March 28, 1908: "Posse celebrari coram quolihet Ordinario aut 
parocho, dummodo intra limites ferritorii ejusdem Ordinarii vel 
parochi." Therefore, even though Father B. himself had signed 
the sponsalia, under the circumstances they would be invalid, be- 
cause signed outside the parish limits. These espousals, therefore, 
being invalid, created no canonical impediments of any kind to the 
subsequent marriage of John to any relative of Mary. He was 
canonically free to marry whomsoever he might choose, as far as 
these sponsalia were concerned. 

When, therefore, he appeared with Margaret, Mary's sister, be- 


fore Father W. and requested to be married, he had a right to do 
so. The consent of Margaret's parents was not necessary ad validi- 
tatem matrimonii between Margaret and John. It might have been 
required ad liceitatem, but not ad validitatem. Moreover, Father 
W. was not deceived regarding the purpose of John and Margaret. 
When the new marriage law says that for the validity of a marriage, 
the parish priest must assist " dummodo invitatus et rogatus et neque 
m neque metu gravi constrictus, requirat et excipiat contrahensium 
consensum," it means that the mere passive presence of the parish 
priest is not sufficient, but that he must know what the parties want 
him for; he must not be deceived as to the purpose for which his 
presence is required, nor must his presence be secured by force or 
intimidation. In this case, Father W. is perfectly well aware what 
is wanted of him. He is deceived as to a point of minor importance, 
not required for the validity of the marriage, and in no way inter- 
fering with Father W.'s full knowledge of what John and Margaret 
desire to do, and desire him to witness. If while they were con- 
versing with Father W. two witnesses had appeared, and John and 
Margaret had exchanged mutual vows, the marriage would be in- 
valid, because deception was practised within the meaning of the 
law. But as things stand, Father W. is invitatus et rogatus. But 
did not John use threats and intimidation when he threatened to 
revoke his bequest? No, not within the meaning of the law. It 
was not an unjust threat that John made. He had a perfect right 
to revoke his bequest. He was doing Father W. and his church 
no unjust injury in threatening to revoke his bequest. John might 
have threatened to go to the bishop about the matter, or even to 
the apostolic delegate. That would not be using unjustifiable in- 
timidation, for it was within John's rights to go to the bishop or the 
apostolic delegate about the matter, if he choose to do so, and he 


would not invade any rights of Father W. in so doing, nor would 
he do him any unjust injury. Therefore, when Father W. finally 
made up his mind to witness John's marriage, he was neither zn aut 
metu gravi constrictus, but properly invitatus et rogatus, and there 
only remained for him to require and to receive the mutual consent 
of the contracting parties, ut consensum requirat et excipiai contra- 
il entium. 

That Father W. performed the marriage in the chapel of a con^ 
vent that was removed from his jurisdiction, did not invalidate the 
marriage. The convent was within the territory of Father W.'s 
parish, although exempt from his jurisdiction. Now the chaplain 
of such a convent, if he be altogether exempt from the jurisdiction 
of the parish priest, has jurisdiction only over such persons as are 
under his care, and not over such persons as may visit the convent. 
All persons within the territory of the convent, who are not per- 
sonally committed to the care of the chaplain, are subject to the 
jurisdiction of the parish priest of the parish in which such convent 
is situated. Such is the ruling of the Congregation of the Council. 
Asked "num cappellani sen rectores piorum cujusvis generis loco- 
rum, a parochiali jurisdictione exemptorum, adsistere valide possint 
matrimoniis absque parochi vel Ordinarii delegatione'* the Congre- 
gation of the Council answered, February 4, 1908: "Affirmative pro 
personis sibi creditis, in loco tamen ubi jurisdictionem exercent, 
dummodo consiet ipsis commissam fuisse plenam potestatem pa- 
rochialem." All other persons within the parish limits of Father 
W.'s parish are subject to Father W.'s jurisdiction, even while 
within the exempted territory of the pit loci. 


Caius, who lives in the town of A., was engaged to a young lady 
from the town of B. Caius' brother is pastor in A. There were 
special reasons why the marriage should take place in A,, and Caius' 
brother, the pastor, had intended to perform it, without any assist- 
ance or permission from the bride's pastor at B. Shortly before 
the time appointed for the marriage, however, the pastor of A. met 
with an accident and was obliged to leave home in order to be 
treated in a hospital in a neighboring city. As it was impossible for 
him to perform the marriage he asked a friend of his, who is pastor 
in C, to take his place and do it for him. This tbe pastor of C. 
agreed to do, but at the last moment he was called away by a death 
in his own family, and in his hurry and excitement he commissioned 
his assistant to go to the town of A. and to marry the young people. 
This the assistant did without further formality, as there was no 
time to be lost. Now I desire to know whether the pastor of C. 
could, under the circumstances, subdelegate his assistant priest to 
perform this marriage in the town of A., and whether the permis- 
sion of the bride's pastor at B. was required in order that the 
pastor at A. or his delegate might assist licitly at this marriage? 

Answer. — This marriage was performed in the town of A. There- 
fore the parish priest of A. or else the bishop of the diocese was the 
only person who could witness this marriage validly. In their ab- 
sence they must designate some other priest, certus et determinatus, 
says the new law, who shall witness the marriage as their delegate. 
The parochus loci where the marriage takes place is the proper 
person to witness validly a marriage. It makes no difference in 



relation to the validity of a marriage whether the contracting parties 
have a domicile or not in the parish. This marriage took place in 
the town of A. Therefore, the pastor of A. was the competent per- 
son to assist validly at it, or to delegate another priest to do so for 
him. As a matter of fact, the bridegroom lived in A. Therefore, 
as far as he was concerned, the pastor of A. could marry him not 
only validly but licitly also. But the bride did not live in the town 
of A., but in the town of B., and the new marriage law says that the 
pastor of the bride, in the first place, is the proper person to assist 
licity at her marriage. "In quolibet autem casu pro regula haheatur, 
ut matrimonium coram sponsae parocho celehretur." "Ne temere," 
V, 5. When there is a justa causa, however, the law does not re- 
quire the bride to be married by her own pastor, nor does it in that 
case require that she get his permission to be married licitly else- 
where. When there is no serious reason whatever why a girl should 
not be married in her own parish and by her own pastor, then the 
law requires that she be married there, to make her marriage alto- 
gether licit. But where there is a serious reason why she should be 
married outside of her own parish and by some one else than her 
parish priest, all the commentators on the new marriage law agree 
that the bride is free to be married by the pastor of the bridegroom. 
Thus Fr. Noldin, S.J., says: 

"Ex verbis quidem decreti parocho sponsae prima loco compefit 
jus assistendi matrimonio ; practice tamen in hoc re non erit urgen- 
dum discrimen inter parochum sponsae et parochum sponsi. Cum 
rnim non requiratur nisi justa causa, ut parochus sponsi licite 
assistat, quaevis autem rationabilis causa utilitatis vel convementiae 
vel consuetudinis censeatur justa; vix tcnquam deerit justa causa, ubi 
nupturientes petunt, ut coram parocho sponsi confrahere possint." 
n. 10, a. 


As there were serious reasons for this marriage taking place in 
A., where the bridegroom Hved, the bride was at liberty to be mar- 
ried there, without asking leave of her own pastor. And let us add, 
in passing, in this case the bride's pastor could make no claim to the 
marriage fee. Therefore, the pastor of A., being himself prevented 
from witnessing this marriage, had the right, quoad liceitatem, to 
delegate some other priest to take his place and to act for him. 
Validly and licitly, therefore, the pastor of A. delegated the pastor 
of C. to perform this marriage for him, within the limits of the 
parish of A., without procuring any authorization or permission 
from the parish priest of B., who was the bride's pastor. 

But now it happened that the pastor of C. could not personally 
execute the delegation which he received from A., and so he com- 
missioned his curate to execute it for him. The question now arises, 
was C. competent, in this particular case, to subdelegate his assist- 
ant? He himself was delegated personally by A. to assist at this 
marriage. Did the delegated faculty which he received include 
expressly or by implication the further faculty to subdelegate an- 
other, in case he could not execute the delegation himself? In 
general, a pastor who delegates another priest to witness a marriage 
in his stead may also grant such other priest the power to sub- 
delegate another, provided always t"hat it be some certain and de- 
termined priest whom he subdelegates. 

"Sacerdoti delegato concedi potest facultas 'turn specialis turn 
generalis suhdelegandi: ejusmodi enim delegatio nan censetur in- 
determinata, dummodo delegatus sibi non substituat {non sub- 
dele get) nisi personam determinatam." Noldin, 13. 

The difficulty here is to determine whether in fact tlie pastor of 
A., In delegating the pastor of C. to assist at Calus' marriage, 
granted him also the further power of subdelegating some one else. 


If A. did in fact grant this further power to C, then C.'s curate was 
validly subdelegated and the marriage he performed in A.'s parish 
was valid. But if A. did not grant C. the power of subdelegating 
another, then, of course, C.'s curate's subdelegation was void and 
the marriage he performed was invalid. It is a question of fact and 
not of law. May it be taken for granted that C, in this case received 
from A. the power to subdelegate ? We do not think so. The power 
to subdelegate may be granted either by word of mouth or in writ- 
ing, expressly or tacitly, or by sign or gesture, personally or 
through a third person, for a particular case or for all marriages. 
But an interpretative delegation is, in fact, no delegation. Had A. 
thought about it at the time, he very likely would have granted C. 
the power to substitute his curate in case he could not go himself. 
But, as a matter of fact, he did not, because he did not think about it. 
There is question here of something that must be capable of proof 
in foro externa. It is not lawful to suppose or to take for granted 
certain powers, but their grant must be capable of proof. Other- 
wise the Sacraments would be exposed to the danger of being null 
and void. It is not lawful to suppose that one has been granted 
jurisdiction to hear confessions, except in a case of necessity, but one 
must make sure that jurisdiction has actually been given. The 
decree Ne temere does not lay down any rules for subdelegating. 
Therefore, the question of subdelegating must be governed by the 
rules of the common law of the Church. According to the rules of 
the Canon Law a delegate may subdelegate: 

1. If he be delegated ad universalitatem causarum. 

2. If he received special authorization to subdelegate. 

As far as we are able to judge, in the present case there was no 
special authorization granted to the pastor of C. to subdelegate his 


curate. Therefore, as soon as C. ioresaw that it would be impossible 
for him to assist at Caius' marriage, he should have communicated 
either with the pastor of A. or with A.'s bishop, and requested the 
faculty to subdelegate his curate, or else have either of them dele- 
gate him. Caius and his bride should be made to renew their con- 
sent before the pastor of A. or B. or before some one properly 
delegated by either of them and before two witnesses. If this is 
impossible, apply for a sanaiio in radice. 


Discussing recently, with some fellow priests, the question of 
the papal benediction in articulo mortis, there seemed to be a con- 
siderable difference of opinion as to how often it might be given to 
the same sick person during the progress of the same sickness. 
Some of the clergy thought that it might be given or repeated when- 
ever Extreme Unction was given or repeated. Others thought that 
if it were given to a sick person while in mortal sin it ought to be 
repeated when such person made a good confession. Others seemed 
to think that if the sickness continued for some time and the sick 
person had the misfortune to fall, from time to time, into mortal 
sin, the blessing ought to be repeated each time that the sick per- 
son received absolution for mortal sin. Is there any certainty in 
this matter, or may a priest follow whatever seems good and reason- 
able to him? 

Answer. — A priest may not follow whatever seems good to him 
in this matter, as the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences has, at 
various times, answered all the above questions. Let us take them 
up, one after another. First, may the papal blessing be given more 
than once during the same sickness? At least, may it be repeated 
whenever Extreme Unction may be repeated during a protracted 
sickness? No, the papal blessing, in articulo mortis, may not be 
given more than once during the same sickness, even though it 
might be allowed to repeat the administration of the Sacrament of 
Extreme Unction. St. Alphonsus and the theologians generally 
permit the repetition of Extreme Unction during the same sickness 



about once a month, because if the sick person continues to live 
for a month or more after having been anointed, the original crisis 
or danger of death, or periculum mortis, is supposed to have passed 
and a new danger to have supervened, which renders lawful a new 
administration of Extreme Unction. But the same can not be said 
for the repetition of the papal blessing, because the Congregation 
of Indulgences forbids it. Asked whether the last blessing might 
be given "bis aut amplins in eodem morho, qui insperate prdtrahitur, 
etiamsi non convaluerit aegrotus," the Sacred Congregation repliea, 
September 23, 1775 : "Semel in eodem statu morbi." Again, when 
the Sacred Congregation was approached with the doubt: "Utrum 
benedictio apostolica pluries impcrtiri possit inilrmis, novo mortis 
periculo redeunte," it replied, on September 24, 1838: "Negative, 
eadem permanenite intirmitate etsi dinturna; affirmative, si infirmus 
convaluerit, ac deinde quacunque de causa in novum mortis peri- 
culum redeat." The reason why it is not permitted to repeat the 
blessing during the same sickness is because such repetition is use- 
less. The plenary indulgence granted by the Pope to the dying 
can be gained only once and that only at the instant of death. If the 
sickness continues, the indulgence also continues, to be gained at the 
moment of death. If the sick person does not die, neither does he 
gain the indulgence. If the sick person recovers and later on con- 
tracts a new sickness, he must receive a new blessing, because the 
former one passed with the passing of the sickness, for which alone 
it was granted. The second question to be answered is this : If the 
last blessing was received in the state of mortal sin, ought it to be 
repeated when the sick person is absolved from mortal sin? Again 
the answer is no. This was the answer made to tbis question by the 
Congregation of Indulgences on June 20, 1836. As the plenary in- 
dulgence is not gained when it is given, but only at the moment of 



death, it makes no difference quoad hoc, whether the sick person be 
in the state of grace or in mortal sin at the time the blessing is given. 
The indulgence is gained at the instant of death, at the moment 
when ' the soul leaves the body, and if at that moment the dying 
person is in the state of grace and has complied with the other 
conditions for gaining the indulgence he gains it, even though he 
was in mortal sin at the time the priest gave him the blessing. 
Therefore, Fr. Schneider, S.J., in his work, "Rescripta Authentica," 
p. 701, after reminding his readers that the blessing can be given 
only once during the same sickness adds : "Haec enim omnia non 
impediimt effectum, si aegrotus in vero mortis articulo dispositus 
est; pro illo momento videlicet datur indulgentia." 

For the reasons just given it follows that it is not lawful to 
repeat the last blessing, even though the sick person, after having 
received it in the state of grace, should afterward fall into mortal 
sin. As was just said, the plenary indulgence granted by the bless- 
ing is intended only for the moment of death. If the dying person, 
who has received the blessing while in the state of grace and then 
has had the misfortune to fall into mortal sin, is in the state of 
grace at the moment of death, that is all that the sovereign pontiff 
requires for the gaining of the indulgence. And for this reason the 
Congregation of Indulgences, on June 20, 1836, replied that it was 
not necessary, and therefore not lawful, to repeat the papal blessing 
in articulo mortis, even though the dying person should fall into 
mortal sin, after having received it. And this was the third ques- 
tion to be answered. 

For the further illustration of this matter it might be well to 
recall to mind that all persons who are in danger of death, and who 
are capable of receiving sacramental absolution, may and should 
receive this papal blessing. Therefore, first, even those who are 



unconscious and who, even through their own fault have not re- 
ceived the last Sacraments, ought to receive the last blessing ; second, 
also children who have never been to Confession or holy Communion, 
provided only they are old enough and capable of committing sin; 
third, all those who are condemned to death for crime, provided 
they repent ; fourth, soldiers, before going into battle ; fifth, and all 
persons who are in danger of death, whether through sickness or 
from some external cause. 

The conditions for gaining this plenary indulgence are: 

First, the same conditions that are required in order to gain any 
indulgence, that is to say, the person must be in the state of grace 
when the indulgence is gained and must have the intention of gain- 
ing the indulgence. 

Second, he must be fully resigned to the will of God in dying. 

Third, he must pronounce the holy name of Jesus with his lips, 
if possible, and if he be not able to speak he must at least invoke 
the holy name of Jesus in his heart. 

Special attention is called to this last condition of pronouncing 
the most holy name of Jesus. It is required by the Congregation of 
Indulgences in order to gain the plenary indulgence in articulo 
mortis. September 22, 1892. It is something that is very easily 
overlooked, and, therefore, we direct especial attention to it. 

Finally, it is customary to give this blessing after Confession, 
Viaticum and Extreme Unction. It is not necessary to follow this 
order, but it is generally followed. In which case it is necessary to 
repeat the coniiteor three times, i. e., once before giving Viaticum, a 
second time before Extreme Unction, and the third time before 
giving the last blessing. 

In a case of extreme need, where no time is to be lost, the coniiteor 
is omitted and the priest begins the blessing at the words "Dominus 



noster lesus Christus," etc. If there were danger even in the delay 
required for this formula, then the priest ought to begin with the 
words : "Ego facilitate mihi ab apostolica scde trihuta, tndulgcntiam 
plenariam et remissionem omnium peccatcrum tibi conccdo, in 
nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti. Amen." If there be no time 
even for this much of the prescribed formula, some theologians are 
of the opinion that the formula "Benedicat te, Ornnipotens Deus, 
Pater et Filius et Spiritus sanctus, Amen" is sufficient for the valid 
imparting of the apostolic blessing and the plenary indulgence. 
(Cf. Schuch, O. S. B., "Pastoral Theologie," p. 823.) 


A Catholic man died recently in an outmission belonging to 
the parish of A. The pastor of A. was absent from home on the 
annual retreat of the clergy of the diocese. He had made arrange- 
ments with the assistant of a neighboring parish, belonging to a 
neighboring diocese, to look after his parish as well as this out- 
mission during his absence, in the matter of sick calls and funerals, 
if there should be any, which was thought unlikely. This assistant 
was a young priest, just ordained, and unfamiliar with the con- 
ditions at A., and, especially, at the outmission. As this Catholic 
man died suddenly, in fact had been killed accidentally, the assist- 
ant priest was not notified until almost the last moment. The 
family of the deceased wanted a Requiem High Mass, and the 
necessary arrangements were made with the choir of the parish 
of A., etc.. The church was crowded with Catholics and non- 
Catholics, when the young priest arrived to say the Mass and bless 
the corpse. But he had forgotten to bring along any Mass wine, 
and there was none to be had in the neighborhood for several miles 
around. To send home for some was out of the question. At 
the same time the young priest was afraid to omit the Mass. In his 
excitement he said the Mass, consecrating only one species, that is, 
the bread. Now it is asked : 

1st. Is it ever allowed to consecrate one species alone? 

2d. Would the Mass, said with one species, i e., with bread 
alone, or with wine alone, be a true sacrifice or a real Mass? 




3d. Might a priest retain the stipend, if he said Mass only with 
one species? 

Answer. — We are not concerned here with the subjective ques- 
tion of the young priest's guilt or innocence in saying Mass with 
bread alone. That question will depend on the state of the young 
man's conscience at the time, as to what could be done lawfully, 
under the circumstances. If, in his excitement, he thought it was 
best to proceed as he did, in order to avoid scandal and harsh 
criticism, and having no means at hand, as for instance, a manual 
of Moral Theology, to advise him that his conduct was wrong, he 
may be acquitted of mortal sin. It is difficult to conceive, however, 
how any one, having completed an ordinary course of theology, 
and not have been guilty of grave criminal negligence in his 
studies during that time, could doubt for a moment that it is never 
allowed to say Mass with one species alone. However, this ques- 
tion does not concern us at present. 

Our concern at present is with the objective question: 

1st. Does the Church ever allow a priest to say Mass with one 
species alone? 

Would it be lawful to say Mass with bread alone, or with wine 
alone, for any purpose whatever, v. g., to administer Viaticum? 
No, it is never allowed, under any circumstances, to say Mass 
with one species. St. Thomas (III. pars., q. 83, a. 6) calls it an 
"immane sacrilegium," and the Church, in the Corpus Jur. Can., 
pronounces excommunication against any priest who would dare 
to interrupt the Mass after the consecration of the bread, "si quis 
haec (viz., ne sacerdos cum coeperit imperfecta oMcia praesumat 
omnino relinquere) temerarie pracsumpserit, excommunicationis 
sententiam sustinebit/' (Decree Gratian, p. 2, c. 7, q. i, cap. : Nihil.) 
The Church is so strict in this matter, that should a priest, after 


the consecration of the bread, be stricken with a fatal malady and 
be unable to proceed with the consecration of the wine, the Church 
not only permits, but commands, even an excommunicated priest, 
yes, even a vitandus, if no other be at hand, to consecrate the wine 
and complete the Mass, rather than allow or permit the Mass to 
end with the consecration of only one species. St. Alphonsus main- 
tains that the obligation to consecrate both species in the Mass, 
both the bread and the wine, is of strict divine command, from 
which neither the Pope nor the Church has any authority to dis- 

Again, in the instructions on the Mass, as contained in the Roman 
missal, we read : 

"Si materia quae esset apponetida, ratione defectus vel panis vel 
vini, non posset ullo modo haberi; si id sit ante consecrationem 
Corporis, ulterius procedi non debet; si post consecrationem Cor- 
poris aut etiam vini, deprehenditur defectus alterius speciei, altera 
jam consecrata: tunc si nullo modo haberi possit, procedendum erit 
et Missa absolvenda, ita tamen ut praetermittantur verba et signa, 
quae pertinent ad speciem deiicientem. Quodsi expectando ali- 
quandiu haberi possit, expectandum erit, ne sacriUcium rem^neat 
imperfectum." (De defect, occur, circa Missam, n. iv, 8.) 

If this young priest was not aware that there was no wine until 
after the consecration of the bread, and there was no wine to be 
had, then he would be permitted to continue the Mass to the end, 
omitting only those words and signs that refer to the consecrated 
wine. But if at any time before the consecration of the bread he 
perceived the absence of the wine, he should have discontinued the 
Mass immediately. Not even in order to administer Viaticum to 
himself, or to another, would, or could, the Church allow him to 
consecrate one species alone. 



"Illiid cerium est, nunquam licere, alteram speciem sine altera 
consecrare; Christus enim potestatem dedit facicndi quod ipse fecit, 
et ita jussit Ueri." (Ballerini-Palmieri, tr. lo, 230.) 

2d. Would the Mass celebrated with one species be a true Mass 
and a real sacrifice? 

Modern theologians maintain that it would not. Thus, Father 
Lehmkuhl holds that it is dogmatically settled that the consecra- 
tion of both species is required for the essence or substance of the 
Mass as a sacrifice. Without this double consecration, namely of 
the bread and of the wine, there is no adequate or sufficient show- 
ing forth or representation of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, 
as instituted and ordained and willed by Jesus Christ. 

Nullo modo probabile est, alterutram consecrationem per se solam 
sufhcere ad essentiam sacrificii Missae. Licet enim suKciat, ut 
potuerit assumi pro sacrifico, reipsa tamen non ita assumpta est 
a Christo Domino. Nam realis cruentae mortis representatio non 
satis habetur secundum ea quae Christus voluit, nisi utriusque sepe- 
ratae speciei consecratio Hat. Haec vero realis representatio Missae 
essentialis est" (Lehmkuhl, I., n. 165). 

According to Cardinal DeLugo, the Mass is essentially, in its 
institution by Christ, a commemorative sacrifice, representing the 
bloody sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. Now it represents the death 
of Christ, in as far as, by virtue of the words of consecration, the 
Body and the Blood of Christ are separated one from the other. 
If, therefore, a priest intended from the beginning to consecrate 
only one species, such an one could not be considered as having 
the intention of doing what Christ ordained and instituted, and 
consequently he would not consecrate at all. Other theologians, 
however, deny this. 

Ballerini thinks that in the consecration of the bread alone, the 


death of Christ is shown forth in a partial manner : "Nee improb- 
ahile prorsiis est, rcpraesentationem mortis Christi aliquo modo ibi 
quoque hdberi, eo quod vi verborum ex intentione celebrantis, ibi 
ponatur solum corpus, non sanguis" (Ballerini, tr. lo, 230). 

3d. May a priest retain the stipend for saying Mass in which 
he consecrates only the bread? 

Berardi, Praxis Confessariorum, 1182, puts a question c?^ saeer- 
dote, qui bona Ude vino inepto in celebratione Missae usus fuit: 
an, scilicet, aliam Missam propter acceptam eleemosynam celebrare 
teneaturf He quotes the answer, taken from "L'Avvisatore Eccl. 
p. 168: 

"Pro Missis bona Me celebratis ante ortum dubium, videtur ad 
nihil teneri, quia licet fuerit laesa justitia commutativa, defuit tamen 
culpa theologica. Potest tamen peter e condonationem {intellige ad 
majorem securitatem) a sancta sede." If the young assistant acted 
in good faith he may retain the stipend. Ballerini says that he may 
not, because he cannot liquidate a debt that is quite certain by a 
doubtful payment. 


The following is a synopsis of a marriage case recently decided 
by the tribunal of the Rota: 

In 1879, one Werner, a German Lutheran, contracted marriage 
with Eliza, a member of the same sect, before a Lutheran minister. 
Before the marriage Werner had heard reports reflecting on Eliza, 
but they did not deter him from marrying her, because, as he said 
to his relatives, if the reports should prove true, or if the girl 
proved unfaithful after marriage, he would simply get a divorce. 
Accordingly, the marriage took place, without the wife ever learn- 
ing of the objections made against her. After the birth of several 
children, the relations between Werner and Eliza became so 
strained that the wife procured a divorce in 1884. Two years later 
Werner married again, but his second wife died in 1895, leaving 
three children by the marriage. 

After the death of this second woman, Werner became acquainted 
with Antonia, a Catholic noblewoman, who, in her desire to convert 
Werner and his children to the Catholic faith, consented to marry 
him, and accordingly applied to her bishop for a certificate de statu 
libero for Werner, which would declare Werner's marriage to Eliza 
invalid, and tliat Werner was free to marry Antonia. But the 
bishop refused the certificate de statu libera, on account of the 
impedimentum ligaminis, as Werner's first wife Eliza was still 
living. To remove this obstacle, Antonia, the Catholic woman, 
brought a case in the bishop's court, for the declaration of the 
invalidity of Werner's first marriage, on the grounds that it had 
been contracted with a conditio turpis, namely, the intention, if 



certain things proved true, of procuring a divorce, and that this 
conditio turpis destroyed the substance of the marriage. The bishop 
decided against Antonia, who thereupon appealed the case to 

The Facts of the Case. — Upon examination, the tribunal of the 
Rota, at Rome, found the facts of the case to be these : Werner had 
the intention of marrying his first wife Eliza, according to the rites of 
the Lutheran Church, which permits divorce for adultery, but that 
this dissolubility was not put as a condition on the occasion of 
the marriage. When adverse criticism was made against Eliza before 
the marriage, Werner states that : "As no facts were given, I believed 
the reports to be unfounded and mere idle gossip. For the moment 
I did not think that it would come to this, and my usual reply was 
that I wanted to be let alone, that I loved the girl and that I was 
making a good marriage." Some days before the marriage Werner 
replied to some who still endeavored to dissuade him : "It makes no 
difference to me, even if the stories about the girl should prove to be 
true, or if she should go wrong after our marriage, I would not kill 
myself for that ; I would simply get a divorce." 

From these and similar expressions of Werner, the tribunal of 
Rota holds that Werner's predominating intention was to contract 
a valid marriage, although he held the erroneous opinion that 
marriage is dissoluble for adultery. When examined by the 
bishop's curia, Werner testified: 

"In marrying Eliza according to the rites of the Evangelical 
Church, I wished to contract a Christian marriage, according to 
the belief of my sect, and I wished to assume the duties of a 
Christian marriage. I believed that Christian marriage could be 
dissolved for certain causes and that after its dissolution I would 
be free to marry again. During the marriage ceremony, when I 


was standing before the altar, I was decided to fulfil my duties, 
but I also thought that, if the stories about my wife proved to 
be true, I would get a divorce." 

From these facts of the case it is evident that Werner wished 
to contract a valid marriage, although he held the erroneous| 
opinion that marriage was dissoluble for adultery on the wife's 
part; furthermore, that this intention of his was not put as a pact 
or condition, because he did not think it necessary, first, because 
he did not believe the reports about his wife ; and, secondly, because 
if the reports should prove to be true, he had at hand a remedy for 
the dissolution of the marriage, independently of any prenuptial 
agreement, namely, divorce, sanctioned by his sect, as well, as by 
the law of the country. 

The Law in the Case. — According to Catholic theology, not any 
intention of dissolving a marriage is sufficient to invalidate a mar- 
riage, but only such intention as has been put forward as a pact or 
condition^ at the celebration of the marriage. When asked as to 
whether a marriage is valid when contracted between a Catholic and 
a schismatic with the intention of dissolving the marriage, the Holy 
Office replied, October 20, 1680: "Those marriages are null when 
these things are put forward as a pact or when the marriages are con- 
tracted with this condition, otherzvise the marriages are valid." If 
the prime intention of the parties to the contract was to contract a 
dissoluble marriage, such intention would destroy the substance 
of the marriage, since there is no such thing possible among 
Christians as a dissoluble marriage, Christian marriage being essen- 
tially indissoluble. But where the prime intention is to contract 
a true and valid marriage, then, though the parties believe that 
marriage is dissoluble for certain causes, still such secondary inten- 
tion or persuasion is absorbed by the prime intention of contracting 


a true Christian marriage and it does not destroy the substance 
of the contract. This doctrine is set forth by Pope Benedict XIV, 
synodo dioecesana, 1. 13, and is confirmed by Pius VI in a letter 
to the Archbishop of Prague, July 2, 1789: 

"Nor is there lacking an intimate reason why the intention of 
contracting according to the ideas of a sect or of a law which 
permits the dissolution of marriage for these causes does not 
militate against its validity, provided this intention is not put 
forth as a pact ; for, from the very fact that non-Catholics, through 
error, think that the dissolution of marriage for these causes is 
not repugnant to the law of Christ; hence, it comes about that 
in their minds, by reason of this false opinion, the intention of 
contracting according to such laws, or to the principles of such a 
sect, by no means excludes the primary intention of con- 
tracting according to the divine law confirmed by Christ. Hence, 
this will remain at the act of contracting, and from it flows and 
is determined the consent which is given to the act. And consent 
given according to the law of Christ is suitable and sufficient for 
the validity of marriage, unless there be some other canonical 

Again, the making of a pact or condition is not presumed in 
foro externa, but must be proved. Benedict XIV, loc. cit., says: 

"If the express condition that the marriage is to be dissolved 
in case of adultery has not been made, although the contracting 
parties may be in error with regard to the dissolution of marriage 
by adultery; still the presumption remains that when they willed 
to contract marriage as it was instituted by Christ, they willed to 
contract perpetual and indissoluble marriage, even should adultery 
take place, for, as we have said, the general will of contracting 
marriage as instituted by Christ prevails, and in a manner, absorbs 


that private error; so that the marriage thus contracted remains 
firm and valid." 

But, it may be asked, what if the parties, knowing the law 
permitting the dissolution of marriage for adultery, have con- 
tracted marriage with this positive intention that in the case of 
the infidelity of one of them the marriage can be dissolved. 

In such case, of course, the marriage would be null, for this 
positive intention would destroy the marriage on account of the 
defect of the matrimonial mind to its proper object, i. e., to an 
indissoluble marriage. But the auditors of the Rota decided that 
this doctrine cannot be applied to the present case, because Werner, 
ignoring the rumors about Eliza, and having no doubt about her 
future fidelity, had no reason for limiting his consent at the mar- 
riage. Neither did he manifest any such intention to the girl, 
either before or at the marriage, and yet the condition must be 
put forth as a pact with the knowledge and consent of the other 
party, because the contract is the resultant of the will of the two 
persons for the same object. 

From the facts and the law the Rota concludes that the marriage 
of Werner to Eliza was a valid marriage, and that he is not free 
to marry Antonia. 



Titius, a Catholic belonging to the Roman rite, marries Bertha, 
who belongs to an Oriental schismatic rite, before a schismatic 

1. Is the marriage valid? 

2. Is Titius excommunicated? 

3. Is the case reserved? 

Answer. — i. The marriage is invalid, propter impedimentum 
dirimens non servatae formae decrcto "Ne temere" statutae. The 
new marriage law, as contained in the decree, "Ne temere/' binds 
all Catholics of the Latin rite: (a) When contracting marriage 
between themselves; (b) when contracting with non-Catholics, 
either baptized or unbaptized, unless the Holy See makes an ex- 
ception for a particular country, as it has done for Germany; (c) 
when contracting with Catholics of an Oriental rite. Catholics 
belonging to the Oriental rites are not bound by the provisions 
of the "Ne temere" if they marry persons belonging to an Oriental 
rite. It is only when they contract marriage with Latin Catholics 
that they are indirectly bound by the new law, because the Latin 
Catholic is bound by it. The Congregation of the Council was 
asked last year: 

Utrum validum sit matrimonium contracfum a Catholico ritus 
Latini cum Catholico ritus Orientalis^ non servata forma a decreto 
"Ne temere' statiitaf 

The answer given on March 28, 1908, was : Negative. 

In the bull Allate sunt of Pope Benedict XIV, it is expressly stated 
that the Orientals are not bound by new pontifical decrees, except in 



the following three cases : (a) When dogmas of faith are defined ; 
(b) when the decree mentions expressly the Orientals; (c) when the 
Orientals are implicitly included in a pontifical decree, as they are in 
the bull of Leo X, in the V. Council of the Lateran, forbidding an 
appeal from the Pope to a future general council. 

As the decree "Ne temere" is not dogmatic but only disciplinary, 
and as no mention is made of the Orientals, they are not bound 
by its provisions. Under the former marriage laws of the Church, 
contained in the "Tametsi" of the Council of Trent, the principle ob- 
tained that in the matter of clandestinity, if one of the parties to 
the marriage contract was not bound by the law of clandestinity, 
he communicated that privilege to the party that was bound by the 
law, propter individuitatem contractus. That principle no longer 
holds under the new law, but the general principle of the law 
obtains that a contract is null and void, if one of the parties to it is 

The Catholic of the Latin rite, being incompetent to contract 
marriage validly, except he contract before a Catholic priest having 
jurisdiction over the locality where the marriage takes place, his 
marriage to a Catholic of an Oriental rite will be null and void, 
unless it be contracted in that way. A fortiori, if the Oriental 
Catholic belong to a schismatic rite, as in the present case. As 
Titius was not married in the presence of the parish priest of the 
district, but by a schismatic priest, it is very evident that his mar- 
riage is invalid. 

2. Is Titius excommunicated? 

Yes, Titius, by being married by a schismatic Oriental priest, has 
incurred excommunication. The Holy Office has repeatedly de- 
clared that Catholics who contract marriage before non-Catholic 
ministers of the Gospel incur excommunication. 


S. OfEcium, August 28, 1888; May 11, 1892. 

The theologians do not agree as to why such Catholics incur 
excommunication. Some maintain that it is because by contract- 
ing marriage before a non-Catholic minister Catholics become 
patrons and abettors of heresy. Others contend that Catholics, by 
marrying before non-Catholic ministers profess themselves, by im- 
plication, believers in heresy in foro externa and are therefore 
excommunicated; because receiving the Sacraments from hferetics 
according to an heretical rite is looked upon as an implicit pro- 
fession of heresy, and the bull, "Apostolicae sedis," of Pius IX, 
1869, declares that omnes hereticis credentes, eorumque receptores, 
fautores, ac generaliter quoslihet eorum defensores, incur excom- 

In like manner, the III. PI. Council of Baltimore, tit. iv, cap. I, 
n. 127, decrees: 

"CathoUcos qui coram ministro cujuscunque sectae acathoKcae 
matrimonium contraxerint vel atfentaverint, extra propriam 
dioecesin, in quolibet statu vel terriforio sub ditione praesulum qui 
huic concilia adsunt vel adesse debent, excammunicationem incurrere, 
episcopo reservatum." 

This excommunication was not abrogated by the new marriage 
law of the "Ne temere." It is still in force, and as Titius was 
married by a schismatic priest, he naturally incurred it. 

3. Is the case reserved? Yes, the case is reserved to the 
bishop. The Council of Baltimore just quoted, expressly reserves 
the excommunication of Catholics, who contract marriage before 
non-Catholic ministers of the Gospel, to the bishop, "Episcopo 
reservatam" says the Council, "a qua tamen quilibet dictorum 
Ordinariorum, sive per se sive per sacerdotem ad hoc delegatutn^ 
absolvere poterit. Quodsi in propria dioecesi ita deliquerint, star 


tuimus eos ipso facto mnodatos esse excommunicatione quae nisi 
absque fraude legis alium episcopum adeant, eorum ordinario re- 

Titius must apply to his own bishop to be freed from the ex- 
communication, unless, without any intention of cheating the law, 
he apply to another bishop. In this latter case any bishop can 
remove the excommunication. 


A non-Catholic mother, whose husband is a CathoHc, gave birth 
to an infant that was thought to be dying, or even dead, when it was 
bom. The attending physician also was a non-Catholic. There 
being no time to call a priest, the father of the child hurriedly bap- 
tized the child himself. The father is a man of ordinary education, 
fairly well-informed about his religion and about the requirements for 
a valid baptism. The physician succeeded in reviving the child and 
it lived and thrived. The father was never satisfied with the bap- 
tism he had administered and repeatedly requested his pastor to 
rebaptize the child. But the pastor refused to do so. He was afraid 
of incurring the irregularity ex iteratione haptismi. He admitted that 
the father's anxiety about the baptism made him uneasy himself. 
He would rebaptize the child gladly were it not for the irregularity. 
Finally, he requested a visiting priest to rebaptize the child, which 
the visitor did. Was there danger or likelihood of incurring the 
irregularity ex iteratione haptismi for rebaptizing this child? 

Answer. — An irregularity in Canon Law is defined to be a canon- 
ical impediment which forbids the reception of orders and the exercise 
of those received. It is an inhability created by the Canon Law, and 
may be removed by dispensation. Irregularity must not be con- 
founded with suspension. Suspension is a censure, inflicted for 
crime, whose immediate purpose is the punishment of the delin- 
quent. Irregularity is an impediment created by the Canon Law for 
the purpose of insuring reverence for the sacred ministry. Suspen- 
sion applies only to clerics, while not only clerics but also laymen 
may become irregular. Irregularity does not take away jurisdiction, 




while suspension does. By violating an irregularity one does not 
incur a new irregularity, but by violating a suspension one becomes 
irregular. Suspension forbids the exercise either of orders or of 
jurisdiction ; irregularity forbids, primarily, the giving or receiving 
of orders, secondly, also, the exercise of orders. The bishop may 
suspend, but he cannot make irregular. There is no irregularity 
unless it be expressed in the law. It cannot be inflicted by the sen- 
tence of a judge. 

Irregularity is total or partial, according as it affects some or all 
exercise of orders, some or all ascent to higher orders. 

Irregularity may arise from some defect of body or birth, etc., to 
which no moral guilt attaches, but which renders a person unfit for 
orders, irregularifas ex defectu; or the irregularity may arise from 
some crime, e. g,, murder, violation of a censure, rebaptizing, etc., 
which renders a person unfit for the sacred ministry, irregularitas 
ex delicto. We repeat there is no irregularity, neither ex delicto 
nor ex defecto, unless it is expressly stated in the Canon Law. No 
matter how unfit any crime or any defect might render a man for 
the sacred ministry, it does not make him irregular unless it be so 
stated in the law. 

Now, one of the irregularities that the above-mentioned parish 
priest was afraid of incurring was the irregularitas ex iteratione 
haptismi. He would gladly have rebaptized the child conditionally, 
could he have convinced himself that in so doing he would run no 
risk of incurring the irregularity. Yet the most superficial perusal 
of any manual of theology re irregularitatihus, ought to convince a 
priest that rebaptizing in the above circumstances he could not incur 
any irregularity. The iteration of the baptism must be sinful, to 
start with. If the repetition of the baptism is not mortallv sinful, it 
does not induce the irregularity. No irregularity ex delicto is ever 


incurred unless the sin be a mortal sin. Iteratio debet esse graviter 
culpahilis. But, in the case under consideration, it is difficult to see 
where there was room for a mortal sin. 

But even though the iteration of the baptism be mortally sinful, 
that of itself is not sufficient to incur the irregularity. The baptism 
must be repeated unconditionally, iteratio absoluta. If the baptism 
be repeated sub conditione, no irregularity is ever incurred ; for the 
law creating the irregularity is a lex poenalis, and, therefore, to be 
interpreted in its narrowest sense. To rebaptize conditionally, is 
really not to rebaptize at all, strictly speaking. To rebaptize, in a 
strict sense, the condition must be omitted. If, therefore, a priest 
were to rebaptize sub conditione, without any reason, or previous 
investigation, he might commit a mortal sin, but he would not incur 
any irregularity. The irregularity was first created in order to dis- 
countenance the error of the rebaptizers, those, namely, who believed 
and taught that converts from heresy and apostasy ought to be re- 
baptized on their reception into the Church (cf. Gasparri i, 329). 
But the addition of the condition, .ft non es baptisatus, excludes the 
heresy of the rebaptizers, and saves one from the irregularity. 

Still a third condition is required in order that one incur this ir- 
regularity, namely, the baptism must be a public fact. It is not 
necessary, as some maintain, that the second baptism be solemn, but 
it is required that both the baptism and its repetition be publicly 
known. The law states expressly that the iteration of baptism must 
be a public fact. But this is impossible unless the first baptism be a 
public fact. 

In order, therefore, to incur an irregularity for rebaptizing, the 
iteratio debet esse graviter culpabilis, absoluta et publico. Even in 
this case the irregularity incurred, according to the opinion of many 
grave theologians, is the prohibition to advance to higher orders, but 



not to exercise the orders already received. (Lehmkuhl ii, 1006; 
St. Alph. 1, 6, 356, etc.) 

Not only the priest who rebaptizes, but also those who ex officio 
assist him, that is, clerics, incur the irregularity. But the parents of 
the person rebaptized do not incur any irregularity, neither do the 
godparents, even though they connive at the baptism. 

The person rebaptized becomes irregular, provided he knows 
that he is being rebaptized against the prohibition of the Church. 
Rebaptized infants, therefore, never incur the irregularity because 
they are incapable of sin. 

From what has been said it will appear how groundless were the 
fears of the priest in this case. He could not possibly incur irregu- 
larity because the rebaptism, in this case, could scarcely have been 
a mortal sin. And even though it were, by adding the condition, 
si non es baptisatuSj all possibility of incurring the irregularity was 


Three men agreed to drive out to a certain farm on which no one 
was living to pluck some of the fine fruit they had seen there. Upon 
their arrival at the farm they find that the fruit has already been 
plucked and stored away in the vacant house, and the house locked. 
A is anxious to get at the fruit and so he proceeds to remove one 
of the window-panes to enable him to get in. B helps him, but C's 
conscience becomes uneasy, and so he protests and tries to dissuade 
the other two, but they persist in removing the fruit. When they 
have it and are about to start for home, B, too, becomes uneasy and 
turns his share over to A. C had demurred and had taken no part 
in the transaction. But now they are getting ready to return. A 
and B proceed to load the fruit into the wagon. If C would refuse 
to haul it in, A would most likely back down and leave it ; at least as 
far as C knows, A could not get away with the fruit. But C is 
a good-hearted fellow, and out of human respect allows the fruit to 
be loaded onto his wagon, and helps cover and conceal it on the 
way in. 

What about restitution? 

Answer. — This is a case of co-operating in a theft. These three ' 
men agree to steal the fruit. They agree to act jointly in injuring 
their neighbor. In order to determine whether they are bound to 
make restitution, we must consider whether their action is (a) unjust ; 
(&) the real and efficacious cause of the damage done to their neigh- 
bor; (c) sinful; or, as the theologians say, theologically culpable. 
These three conditions must be verified before anyone can be held 
responsible in conscience for an injury done to another. Actio dam- 




niHcans debet esse vere, efficacifer et formaliter injusta. When these 
three men agreed to jointly steal the fruit they became equally re- 
sponsible for the injury they agreed to do their neighbor, because 
they agreed to become the real, efficacious and sinful cause of an 
unjust action, causing injury to their neighbor. The three are 
equally guilty, because they conspire mutually to do the injury, and 
each one renders himself liable for the whole damage that the three 
of them do, provided the other two refuse to repair their share. 
Totum damnum infert, qui communi conspiratione cum aliis 
ad damnum inferendum concurrit. Had these three men, therefore, 
proceeded without more ado, to steal the fruit, each one would be 
bound to make restitution of a third part of the fruit, provided all 
three of them were willing to make restitution ; but each one is liable 
in conscience for the whole damage, in case the other two do not 
make restitution, because there existed a mutual conspiracy. But 
before they actually steal the fruit, C's conscience becomes uneasy, 
and so he protests and tries to dissuade the other two, but they 
persist in removing the fruit. 

By protesting against the theft, and by endeavoring to dissuade the 
other two men from committing it, C effectually dissociates himself 
from A and B and ceases to be a co-operator in the theft that fol- 
lows. He actually and effectively withdraws before any injury is 
done to the owner of the fruit. Whatever influence his original 
agreement to steal the fruit may have had on A and B he effectively 
neutralizes it by protesting against the theft before it takes place, and 
by endeavoring to dissuade A and B from committing it. If C had 
retired after this he would not be responsible for any part of the 
theft that A and B thereupon committed, because he was not a party 
to it, and could not be regarded as a causa vera, cfRcax et theologice 
culpabilis damni injusti In this case A and B alone would have 


been the only persons responsible for the restitution, each one for 
half, in case both made restitution, and each one for the whole dam- 
age in case the other refused or failed to restore his share. 

But now that the fruit is stolen and all three are getting ready 
to start for home, "B, too, becomes uneasy and turns his share over 
to A." This does not alter the case of B. B has actually stolen the 
fruit together with A. He is a causa injusta, vera, efUcax et theolo- 
gice culpabilis damni. Therefore, he must make restitution. And 
because there existed a conspiracy between A and B, both become 
responsible conditionally for the full amount of the damage ; that is, 
on condition that the other party fail to make restitution for his 
share of the theft. "Qui simul cum aliis est causa {sive moralis sive 
physica) totius damni, et quidem aequ^lis, restituere tenetur in soli- 
dum condicionate: in solidum quidem, quia totum damnum intulit, 
condicionate vero, quia illud non solus, sed simul cum aliis intulit." 
"Totum damnum infert, qui communi conspiratione cum aliis ad 
damnum inferendum concurrit, ut si complures conspirant ad ex- 
poUandam domum, quia singuli saltern moraliter in integrum dam- 
num inUuunt, modo conspiratio sit vera et efUcax" {Noldin ii, 

But, unfortunately for C, after A and B have stolen the fruit, he 
becomes again a co-operator formalis et injustus. "A and B pro- 
ceed to load the fruit into the wagon. If C would refuse to haul it 
in, A would most likely back down and leave it; at least as far as 
C knows, A could not get away with the fruit. But C is a good- 
hearted fellow and out of human respect allows the fruit to be loaded 
on to his wagon and helps cover and conceal it on the way in." By 
so doing C becomes again a party to the theft and as his co-opera- 
tion this time seem to be necessary to execute the theft, he becomes 
responsible again in solidum condicionate for the full amount of the 



theft; that is, on condition that A and B refuse to make restitution 
for their share. 

"Totum damnum infert is, cujus co-operatio sive moralis sive 
physica ad damnum infer endum necessaria est^ adeo ut ipso non 
concurrente damnum non Ueret, ut si duo expoliant viatorem, quern 
unus explorare non potuisset^ vel si quis fert suffragium necessarium 
ad injustam sententiam, quam alii eo absente, vel contradicente nun- 
quam tulissent. Etsi enim ejus co-operatio non sufficiat ad totum 
damnum inferendum, tamen negata co-operatio totum damnum im- 
pedire potuisset. Si quis adjuvat furem ad auferendam arcam,> 
quam neuter solus ferre posset, uterque totum damnum reparare 
tenctur^, quia uterque est causa totius eifectus, quatenus sine ejus 
auxilio nullus eifectus fuisset" {Noldin ii, 489; Ballerini-Palmieri 
Hi, 376). 

A, B and C, therefore, are bound to make restitution for the fruit 
they stole, each one absolutely for his own share; that is, for one- 
third, and conditionally in solidum; that is, each one is liable for the 
whole amount, in case the other two fail to restore their share. A 
and B are bound, because they conspired to steal the fruit, and by 
their conspiracy each becomes the author of the whole damage, not, 
of course, in a physical, but in a moral sense. C becomes respon- 
sible conditionally for the whole amount, because, although he with- 
drew effectively from the conspiracy before any injury was inflicted, 
still the co-operation, that he lends to haul the fruit home, being 
necessary or required in order to accomplish the theft, and with- 
out which assistance the fruit would not have been removed from 
the premises, makes C also a moral cause of the whole damage, and, 
therefore, responsible for the whole restitution in case A and B do 
not restore their share. 

St. Alphonsus says, regarding the practical application of the 


above-mentioned principles, that it is rarely advisable to oblige 
the ignorant and uneducated to make restitution in solidum, even 
though they be bound to it by strict justice, because the ignorant 
and uneducated do not understand how they should be held respon- 
sible for what their partners stole. In fact, says the holy doctor, it 
may be presumed that the injured party will be satisfied if each per- 
son restores the part he himself stole, since otherwise it is greatly 
to be feared that not even that much restitution will be made. (St. 
Alphonsus, n. 579). 



There seems to exist some diversity of opinion as to the way the 
holy water should be blessed on Holy Saturday, for the use of the 
faithful. For instance, one priest uses the blessing in the Roman 
ritual : Ordo ad faciendam aquam henedictam, the same that he uses 
on ordinary Sundays throughout the year. Another blesses the 
water in the baptismal font, and then, before pouring into it the 
holy oils, he takes some of it and adds to it a quantity of water 
that has not been blessed. Once, having forgotten to take out some 
of the water before pouring in the oils, he took out some after he 
had poured in the holy oils. Another, at the same time that he 
blesses the water in the baptismal font, blesses other water for the 
use of the people, which is put into a separate vessel and placed 
near the baptismal font. Are all these ways good and proper, or 
how ought the water to be blessed on Easter Saturday ? 

Answer. — The water that the Church blesses in a more solemn 
manner on Holy Saturday, and which is popularly called Easter- 
water, is intended by the Church to be used for various purposes. 
It is intended, first of all, to be used as baptismal water, after the 
holy oils have been mixed with it. This is the principal purpose for 
which the Church blesses it, as may be gathered from the text of 
the Missal. When the blessing is finished, the oil of holy chrism 
and the oil of catechumens are added to it and it is used then 
exclusively for the administration of baptism throughout the year. 
But, according to the rubrics, this water thus blessed in a solemn 
manner on Holy Saturday is used for other purposes besides the 



administration of the Sacrament of Baptism, but always before tHe 
holy oils are added to it. 

1. It is prescribed by the rubrics, that during the blessing of the 
font on Holy Saturday, the assisting priests must take of the water 
thus blessed and sprinkle the faithful with it. "Deinde per assis- 
tentes sacerdotes spargitur de ipsa aqua benedicta super populum" 
(ci. rubrics, Roman Missal, bened. fontis in Sabb. sancto). 

2. In the meantime, as soon as the water in the baptismal font 
has been blessed, one of the ministers or altar boys takes some of 
the water out of the font before the holy oils have been poured into 
it, and pours it into another vessel, which holy water is to be used 
in blessing the houses of the faithful and other places, which the 
rubrics prescribe shall be conducted on Holy Saturday, either by the 
parish priest himself or by another priest (Roman Ritual, de bene- 
dictionibus) . "Et interim unus ex ministris Ecclesiae accipit in vase 
aliquo de eadem aqua ad aspergendum in dotnibus et aliis locis" 
(Roman Missal, rubrics for Holy Saturday). Some of this water 
must be poured into the holy water fonts of the church and some of 
it reserved for the use of the clergy and laity, who are to have 
access to it to take it for use in their homes on other days besides 
Holy Saturday (Memoriale rituum, tit. vi). 

3. The Roman Missal also prescribes that this holy water, thus 
blessed with more solemn rite on Holy Saturday, shall be used for 
the "asperges" before the solemn Mass on Easter Sunday and on 
Pentecost Sunday. On Easter Sunday and on Pentecost Sunday, 
therefore, the celebrant of the solemn Mass does not bless the water 
with which he sprinkles the people before the Mass, as he does on 
ordinary Sundays throughout the year, but he takes of the Easter 
water, blessed on Easter Saturday, and with this he sprinkles the 
faithful, chanting the "Vidi aquam." 


From the foregoing it will readily appear that if the water blessed 
with solemn rite on Holy Saturday is to be used for these various 
purposes, no small quantity of it will be required ; in fact, more will 
be needed than can be held in the ordinary baptismal font. It is 
only natural, therefore, that a diversity of opinion should arise as 
to the best and most proper way of blessing a sufficient quantity of 
Easter water to answer these different purposes that the Church has 
in view when she blesses it. However, one way is not as good as 
another, and for that reason we will say a word about the different 
methods proposed in the question. 

One priest, as mentioned above, blesses the baptismal font, but at 
the same time he blesses, with the ordinary form : ordo ad faciendam 
aquam henedictam, which is used on ordinary Sundays, a sufficient 
quantity of water in a separate vessel, to be given out to the faithful 
for use in their homes. Now, the Roman ritual says expressly that 
the water to be used on Holy Saturday in blessing the houses of 
the faithful must be taken from the baptismal font before the holy 
oils are added ; and the Memoriale rituum says the same thing about 
the Easter water to be distributed to the faithful on Holy Saturday 
and used in the holy water fonts of the church. All the holy water 
used for these purposes must be taken from the baptismal font after 
it has been blessed with the solemn rites of Holy Saturday, but 
before the holy chrism and oil of catechumens have been added 
to it. 

It is true that the Congregation of Rites (August 31, 1872) per- 
mits that on Holy Saturday the water may be blessed privately in 
the sacristy, using the ordo ad faciendam aquam henedktam, and 
the water may be thus blessed at any hour during Holy Saturday, 
but not during the offices of the Church, if the priest who blesses the 
water is conducting the offices of the Church. But this permission 


seems to apply only to churches without baptismal fonts and to 
public oratories. Another priest takes some of the holy water from 
the baptismal font after the solemn blessing on Holy Saturday, but 
before he adds the holy oils, and to this water he adds water 
that has not been blessed, in order to have a sufficient quantity for 
the fonts of the church and for the people. There is nothing wrong 
in this procedure. One must be careful, however, never to add 
at one time, "unico actu," of water that is not blessed a larger 
quantity than there is holy water to which it is added. The ritual 
prescribes this, de materia baptismi. The reason why the whole mass 
of water loses its blessing, if at any single time a larger quantity 
of unblessed water is added than there is blessed or holy water to 
which the addition is made, is the explicit will of the Church. The 
Church wishes that the whole mass lose its blessing, if at any one 
time more water that has not been blessed is added than there is 
holy water to which the addition is made. But it is permitted to add 
again and again unblessed water to the holy water, the same as 
to the baptismal water, provided, always, the quantity of water 
added never exceeds the quantity of baptismal water, or holy water, 
at any single addition. It is never lawful to use the baptismal 
water, that is, the holy water in the baptismal font after the infusion 
of the holy oils, for any other purpose than that of baptizing. The 
missal and the ritual both state expressly that the water from the 
baptismal font wherewith the people are to be sprinkled and their 
houses blessed, etc., must be taken out before the holy oils are 
poured into it. To use the baptismal water after the infusion of 
the holy oils for such a purpose is certainly an abuse which cannot 
be justified. The holy oils are added to the water precisely because 
it is to be used thereafter for the administration of the Sacrament of 



The catechism of the Council of Trent says that the Church, 
guided by apostolic tradition, has uniformly observed the practise 
of adding holy chrism to the water to be used in baptizing, the more 
fully to express its efficacy (de Bapt. chrism). 

The last method of blessing the Easter water on Holy Saturday, 
mentioned above, namely, having a quantity of water in a separate 
vessel near the baptismal font, which the priest blesses at the same 
time that he blesses the font, is scarcely to be commended. The 
reason why it cannot be commended is because the solemn blessing 
of the Easter water is conducted with many ceremonies, as the 
division of the water in the form of the cross, breathing upon the 
water, dipping of the Easter candle into the water, etc., all of which 
ceremonies are restricted to the water in the baptismal font and may 
not be repeated, even if they could conveniently be repeated, over 
another vessel of water placed near by. 

For these reasons we conclude that if the baptismal font does not 
hold water enough for the various purposes for which Easter water 
may be used, then the only thing to be done is to take out of the 
font as much holy water as can be spared, before the holy oils have 
been added to it, and to this water add a smaller quantity of 
unblessed water, which immediately partakes of the Easter blessing. 


Some years ago a certain priest gave considerable scandal by 
drinking. He was called to headquarters, and well knowing the 
gravity of his offense and not waiting to be asked, he resigned his 
parish. With the consent of the ordinary and with a good celehret 
from the Vicar-General, he went on a vacation. On his return the 
ordinary assigned him to another parish, but before doing so he 
obliged him to sign a paper to the effect that, should he drink 
again, he would be ipso facto suspended ah ordine et jurisdictione. 
The priest has faithfully observed his promise. Now the points I 
would wish you to consider are : 

1. The priest's faculties were not withdrawn when he resigned 
his parish and, of course, were not restored when he was assigned 
to another parish. Would that fact in any way affect the ordinary's 
ruling ? 

2. What probability has the opinion which says that the power of 
the ordinary in such cases is limited to his diocese and therefore 
does not bind a priest when outside the diocese? 

3. Has the Vicar-General power to give this priest permission, 
when on vacation, to ignore his promise to the ordinary, with the 
understanding that on his return his promise to the ordinary would 
again be in full force ? 

Answer. — i. The fact that this priest's faculties were not taken 
away from him when he resigned his parish and were not, therefore, 
restored when he received a new appointment, since he already 
possessed them, in no wise affects the bishop's ruling in this case. 
The bishop simply added a condition to the faculties of the priest, 



namely, that the faculties were withdrawn ipso facto upon in- 
dulgence in intoxicating drink. This condition the bishop had a 
perfect right to add, and thereupon the faculties which before were 
absolute, now become conditional. To add the condition, it was 
not neessary to withdraw the original faculties. The bishop may 
at any time make the retention of faculties by any priest in his 
diocese conditional, for a sufficient reason. The bishop is the judge 
of the sufficiency of the reason. The priest, while acquiescing in it, 
may appeal to a higher tribunal. 

2. What probability has the opinion which says that the power 
of a bishop in this case is limited to the diocese, and therefore does 
not bind a priest outside the diocese? The opinion has practically 
no probability. Ballerini-Palmieri says of it: "Concludemus ipsi 
nan superesse nisi quandam externam probabiUtatem, quae ivir- 
spectis rationihus facile evanescit" (Tr. xi, loi). 

The reason why there ever was any diversity of opinion regarding 
the bishop's power to suspend a priest for something the priest does 
outside the diocese is this : In the Corpus Juris, cap. Ut animarum, 
de constitutionibus in 6° , we read : 

''Statuto Episcopi, quo in omnes qui furtum commiserinf, ex- 
communicationis sententia promiUgatur, subditi ejus furtum extra 
ipsius diocesim committentes, minime ligo/ri noscuntur: cum extra 


Relying on this passage from the Corpus Juris, some theologians 
have concluded that the power of a bishop over his priests does not 
reach beyond the limits of the diocese. That if a bishop threatens 
a priest with suspension to be incurred ipso facto for some trans- 
gression, the transgression must take place within the territory 
of the diocese. If it does not, the suspension is not incurred. But 
this is entirely false. A« Ballerini points out after St. Alfonsus, 


in the passage quoted above, the question concerns a judgment of 
the bishop per modum statuti, or by diocesan statute. All canonists 
are agreed that the diocesan statutes, or rather a censure that is 
decreed by diocesan statute, is not incurred unless the transgression 
is committed within the diocese. But the canonists also distinguish 
a praeceptum personate from a statutum. A statutiim, or statute, 
is limited to the territory of the diocese, and binds no one beyond 
the limits of the diocese. A praeceptum attaches to the person and 
not to the territory ; it sticks to one's hones, as the Corpus Juris has 
it, haeret ossibus, and follows a person wherever he goes, sicut 
umbra corpus, et sicut lepra leprosum. A statute, therefore, must 
not be confounded with a personal command. In the case before us 
there is no question of a diocesan statute binding all priests of the 
diocese not to drink. The question concerns a personal command 
or injunction, praeceptum personate, given to one individual priest. 
That command binds the priest personally, follows him wherever 
he goes, inside or outside the diocese, and the censure which it 
threatens is incurred even outside the diocese, if the command is 
disobeyed outside the diocese. In the diocese of Westminster there 
is a statute forbidding priests to go to the theatre, under pain of 
suspension, to be incurred ipso facto. Since that law is a statutum, 
it does not bind beyond the limits of the Westminster diocese.* 
Therefore, if a priest belonging to the diocese of Westminster 
should attend a theatre in Paris or New York, he does not incur 
the suspension. But if the Archbishop of Westminster should for- 
bid a particular priest to enter a public house for the purpose of pro- 
curing strong drink, that would be a praeceptum personate, as the 
canonists style it, and that would bind such a priest not onl}^ in 
London, but also in Paris and in New York. It cannot be said that 
the Bishop passes sentence on the priest outside of his territory; 


for, although the transgression takes place out of the diocese, and 
the bishop's sentence thus has effect outside his territory or juris- 
diction, still the sentence goes into effect silently and without trial 
or legal process. Now, the true and sole reason why a bishop is 
prohibited by the Canon Law from pronouncing a sentence of censure 
beyond the boundaries of his own diocese is lest he seem to invade 
and violate another bishop's territory. If there be no invasion nor 
violation of another bishop's jurisdiction, there exists no prohibition 
forbidding a bishop to exercise jurisdiction over his own subjects, 
even though they be in another diocese, or within the jurisdiction 
or territory of another bishop. Thus a bishop may dispense in the 
case of his own subjects; he may command or forbid something 
under censure to be incurred ipso facto; he may pronounce sentence 
against one of his subjects for a notorious crime, where no legal 
proceedings or trial and citation and examination of witnesses are 
required, even though the subject be at the time in another diocese 
and the transgression have taken place there. A. bishop may even 
proceed legally against his priest outside his own diocese, cum 
strepitu judiciario, summoning witnesses and trying him in open 
court, provided he receive permission from the bishop in whose 
diocese the trial takes place. 

There can be no doubt, therefore, that if the priest mentioned in 
our case should partake of intoxicating drink even outside the 
limits of his diocese, he would incur suspension ipso facto; and if 
on returning to his diocese he exercise the ministry without having 
the suspension removed, he becomes irregular. 

3. Can the Vicar give the priest permission to drink outside the 
diocese? He cannot. The Vicar-General has just as much power 
as the bishop gives him. The Council of Trent, Sess. 24, defines 
the position of vicars-general. They are supposed to receive 


sufficient powers from the bishop, so that their position or office 
may not be vain and an illusion. However, the bishop may and 
does reserve certain things to himself. In the case before us it 
cannot be reasonably supposed that the bishop would give the vicar 
power to thwart and nullify his, the bishop's, purposes and inten- 
tions. It must be supposed, in the absence of certain proof to the 
contrary, that the bishop reserves this priest's case to himself, and 
that the vicar has no jurisdiction to limit or remove the bishop's 
censure. The only course open, therefore, to this priest, if he 
wishes to retain his faculties, is to remain faithful to the written 
promise that he gave his bishop. 


Being about twenty-five miles from his church, my curate was 
called upon to administer the Sacrament of Baptism, He did so, 
using for the unctions the oleum iniirmorum, the only oils he had 
with him, I need scarcely state the oil was oleum ah episcopo 
benedictum. Was he justified? Or, is it necessary now to repeat 
the unctions, et absolute, using the oils blessed for Baptism? I 
have read the case in the "Casuist" on Extreme Unction, studied the 
case carefully and came to the same conclusion as is given. But 
this seems to me an altogether different case, in which the oleum 
catechumenorum and the sacrum chrisma are absolutely necessary. 

Answer. — The oils prescribed by the ritual to be used in the 
solemn administration of Baptism are the oleum salutis or oleum 
catechumenorum, and the sacrum chrisma. The oil of catechumens 
is also called oleum sanctum. It is oil of olives blessed with exor- 
cisms by the bishop on Holy Thursday, and the catechumen or 
postulant for Baptism is to be anointed with it before he is baptized. 
Baruffaldi calls it: "Oleum exorcizatum ad reddendum illo in- 
unctum verum Athletam Christi, ut in conUictu et adversitate 
toleranter sustinere valeat." (Comment. Rom. Rit. tit. x, n. 4.) 

The holy chrism, wherewith the newly baptized is anointed im- 
mediately after being baptized, consists of oil of olives mixed 
with balsam, likewise blessed by the bishop on Holy Thursday. 
This chrism is the same that the bishop uses in the administration 
of the Sacrament of Confirmation. In the early ages of the Church, 
the bishop was usually the minister of Baptism, and he anointed 



the neophytes on the forehead with chrism immediately after bap- 
tizing them, so that the chrism used by the bishop was in reality 
for the Sacrament of Confirmation. The unction on the top of the 
head by the priest was introduced to supply for the unction on the 
forehead by the bishop when the bishop was absent and when, 
consequently. Confirmation could not be immediately conferred as 
usual. Later on, even when the bishop was present and confirmed 
immediately after Baptism, if a priest baptized he also anointed 
with chrism, but not on the forehead, but on the top of the neo- 
phyte's head. 

Since, therefore, the oil of catechumens is blessed with special 
exorcism, and to serve for the anointing of those who are about to 
be baptized, and since the chrism used in Baptism must be the same 
as used for the Sacrament of Confirmation, it is evident that they 
may not be replaced by the oleum iniirniorum without sin. Baruf- 
faldi says that if by inadvertence one oil is substituted for another, 
it would be a venial sin ; but if the substitution were the result of 
carelessness or negligence, it would be a mortal sin. "An peccet 
sacerdos^ qui administrans Baptismum, unum pro altera oleo accipiat 
et utatur, v. g. oleo chrismatis pro oleo catecJuimenonim? Cui 
respondeo, quod seclusa inadvertentia, quae non nisi peccatum 
veniale inducit, peccaret graviter, si hoc ncgligenter faceret. And 
he maintains that the unctions are to be repeated, although they 
are not of the essence of baptism. "Quia ad effectum distinctum 
applicantur ista olea, et in administratione falsa non concordarent 
verba cum effectu olei, ideoque illuderetur signiUcatio; si enim 
mutare verbum in administratione peccatum est, et sacramentum 
repetendum est, multo magis hoc erit faciendum in mutatione 
materia. In hoc tamen casu theologi in varias sententias distror- 
huntur. Dicet quis: Oleum non est materia baptismi, neque proximo/ 


neque remota, sed quid sacramentale. Respondeo, repetendam esse 
unctionem cum oleo, non ablutionem cum aqua." (Tit. x, 19-20.) 
Baruffaldi admits at the same time that there are many theo- 
logians against him in this view of the matter. 

It is evident that it is not so serious a rtiafter to substitute one 
oil for another in administering Baptism, since there is no question 
of the validity of the Sacrament. But this is not so in Confirmation 
and Extreme Unction. Even in Baptism, says O'Kane (Rubrics, 
260), the mistake is a serious one and ought to be corrected at the 
moment if the error is detected and can be at once repaired. If, 
however, the mistake is discovered only some time afterwards, 
O'Kane thinks that Baruffaldi's opinion is too severe, and he inclines 
to the opinion of Falise, who does not insist on a repetition of the 
unctions in Baptism, because: i. One oil is probably a valid sub- 
stitute for another even when it is question of a Sacrament; with 
much more reason, therefore, may one be substituted for another 
where there is no question of a Sacrament, but only of a rite; 2 
the omission of the rite does little or no injury; 3. the repetition of 
the rite would often be an occasion of murmur and scandal. If, 
by mistake, one oil has been substituted for another in Baptism, 
Falise agrees with Baruffaldi that the mistake ought to be cor- 
rected a moins toutefois que les circonstances n'indiquent la marche 
contraire. (Falise, Du Bapteme, ch. II. n. 8). 

If a repetition of the unctions would cause scandal or adverse 
comment, they are not to be repeated. 

In the case given here, it would scarcely be prudent to repeat the 
unctions given with the oleum infirmorum. Such repetition would 
arouse comment and adverse criticism very likely and lessen the 
people's confidence in the curate. It would be better to let the 
matter remain as it is. Ante factum, however, it would have been 


better to have omitted the unctions altogether and to have advised 
the parents of the child to this effect, and then later on to have 
supplied them, data opportunitate, with the proper oils. Fr. Genicot, 
S. J., gives a case in his Casus Conscientiae (I. cap. 4, n. i) similar 
to the one we are considering. A priest journeys about three miles 
to administer Baptism in a private chapel. Upon arriving at the 
chapel he discovers that he has forgotten the baptismal oils. He 
administers Baptism just the same, omitting the unctions, however. 
Later on he fails to supply the unctions. Genicot does not blame 
this priest, provided he carried out all the other ceremonies of 
Baptism. It would be asking too much, he says, to require this 
priest either to defer the baptism, or to make a journey of six 
miles (home and back again) to get the oils. And this seems to agree 
with an answer of the S. C. de P. F., Jan. 21, 1789, which says 
thiat a sufficient reason for omitting the solemnities of Baptism 
would be " quamcunque rationabilem et gravem causam quae im- 
pediat earumdem solemnitatum administrationem." But the unctions 
should have been supplied later on, the same author says, "Ubi 
tempus et occasio opportuna adfuerint, in ecclesia vel oratorio, 
prout additur in citato responso." 

Of course, if the curate in our case did not think that there 
would be offered later on an opportunity of supplying the unctions 
with the proper oils, it was better to use doubtful matter to ad- 
minister a rite than not to administer the rite at all. If, however, 
the unctions could have been supplied later on, the curate should 
have waited until he could procure the proper oils. 


Question. — On page 54, vol. II, of the "Casuist," it is said that a 
sanatio in radice may be procured and applied without renewal of 
consent of either party. On the contrary, it is stated on page 358 
of Father Slater's Moral Theology, that "a necessary condition for 
the exercise of sanatio in radice is that before the sanatio is applied, 
one of the parties should be aware of the impediment." Do I un- 
derstand this aright ? If so, how conciliate these two pages ? 

Answer. — There is no discrepancy between what Father Slater 
says and what is stated in the "Casuist." On the page quoted, the 
"Casuist" remarks incidentally that a sanatio in radice may be applied, 
even though both parties to the marriage remain ignorant of the 
existence of the diriment impediment that invalidated their marriage 
at the time when it was contracted. That a sanatio in radice may be 
so applied is quite certain. Any handbook of moral theology will 
bear this out. For instance, Father Noldin says: "Sanatio in 
radice duplici modo fieri potest, vel ita ut renovatio consensus 
exigatur vel sine renovatione consensus. Ex usu ecclesiastico 
quidem, sanatio sine renovatione fieri solet, praesertim ubi putativi 
conjuges nullitatem sui matrimonii ignorant nee de ea moneri 
possunt; nihilominus s. pontifex quandoque praecipit renovationem 
consensus in poenam^ ubi scilicet una pars tempore celebrationis 
mala fide egit. Quodsi novus consensus praescribitur, is ad valorem 
matrimonii necessarius est. Ex his patet sanationem matrimonii 
etiam inscia utraque parte fieri posse et reipsa fieri, quoties ex moni- 
tione damnum timetur: ex parte enim conjugum nullus actus ad 
sanationem requiritur" {de Mat. n. 661, 2). 



11. The question that Father Slater treats on page 358 of his 
"Moral Theology," is quite distinct from the above. Father Slater 
treats the question whether the bishops of the United States have 
received faculties from the Holy See to grant a sanatio in radice, even 
though both parties to the marriage are allowed to remain in igno- 
rance of the diriment impediment that invalidated their marriage when 
it v^^as first contracted. The question treated by Father Slater, there- 
fore, is a question of the comprehensiveness of the faculties granted 
by the Holy See to the American bishops to dispense from some 
diriment impediments to marriage. Father Slater maintains, and 
with reason, that the American bishops have no faculties from the 
Holy See to grant a sanatio in radice while both parties to the mar- 
riage remain in ignorance of the diriment impediment. One of the 
parties, at least, must be made aware of the invalidity of the mar- 
riage and the removal of the diriment impediment by the sanatio 
in radice, and such party must renew the consent. The "Casuist," 
therefore, merely says that a sanatio in radice may be applied, inscia 
utraqu,e parte; Father Slater says that the American bishops have 
not received faculties from Rome to grant a sanatio in radice, 
except on condition that one of the parties to the marriage be made 
aware of the diriment impediment and its removal through the 
sanatio, and such person renew the consent. And since this latter 
question is of importance, it may be well to review it briefly. Among 
the faculties granted by the Holy See to the American bishops, to 
be renewed every five years, is the following one: 

"Sanandi in radice matrimonia contractu quando comperifur 
adfuisse impedimentum dirimens super quo, ex Apostolica Scdis 
indulto, dispensare ipse possit, magnumque fore incommodum 
requirendi a parte innoxia renovationcm consensus, monita tamen 
parte conscia impedimenti de effectu hujus sanationis." 


As the interpretation of this faculty had given rise to much con- 
troversy and serious doubts were entertained by bishops and priests 
concerning its application, the Bishop of Covington, in 1906, wrote 
to the Congregation of the Holy Office for an authentic interpreta- 
tion. Among the questions proposed by the Bishop of Covington 
concerning the application of this sanatio in radice was the fol- 
lowing: Whether the American bishops could apply this faculty in 
a case where both parties to the marriage are aware of the nullity 
of their marriage, but one of them cannot be induced to renew the 
consent? "Utrum sit locus facultatis si ambae qii^dem partes cog- 
noscunt nuUitatem matrimonii, sed una earum adduci non potest 
ad renovandum consensum?" To this the Holy Office replied: 

"Negative, nisi constet verum datum fuisse consensum sub specie 
matrimonii, et eumdem ex utraque parte perseverare." 

The bishop then inquired, further, whether the sanatio in radice 
might be applied in case both parties are ignorant, hie et nunc, of 
the invalidity of their marriage, provided later on one of the parties 
be informed that their marriage has been validated by the sanatio 
in radice? "Utrum, adhuc sit locus facultatis si ambrae partes hie 
et nunc ignorant nuUitatem matrimonii, dummodo postea una pars 
moneatur de sanatione obtenta, ejusque effectu?" To this the Holy 
Office replied: "Prout exponitur, negative/' 

From this answer of the Holy Office it is evident that if both 
parties to the marriage contract be ignorant of the nullity of their 
marriage, the American bishops cannot exercise the faculty sanandi 
in radice, even though one of the parties be informed later on that 
the sanatio had been applied and that its effect was the curing of the 
marriage. In other words, before the American bishops can exercise 
their faculty of sanandi in radice, one of the parties to the marriage 
must be made aware of the invalidity of the marriage previous to 


the exercise of the faculty sanandi in radice. There is no question 
here of the power of the Holy See to grant a sanatio in radice and 
to cure a marriage, even though both parties to it be ignorant of its 
nullity. The question here at issue is whether the facuUas sanandi 
in radice granted by the Holy See to our bishops is restricted. And 
it is evident from what has been said that it is restricted. 

But suppose that both parties to the marriage are ignorant of the 
nullity of their marriage and neither of them may be informed of its 
nullity without great hardship and grievous scandal, what is to be 
done in such a case? Both parties are to be left in good faith, or, 
if it is feared that the married parties may learn later on of the 
nullity of their marriage, to their own great injury and suffering, 
recourse may be had by special letters to the Holy See for a sanatio 
in radice, utraque parte inscia impedimenti, which sanatio, if granted, 
will be valid or authentic also in foro externa, to prove the validity 
of this marriage, should it be subsequently attacked. The rescript 
that the Holy See forwards in such a case granting the sanatio, 
should be carefully guarded by the bishop for possible future use in 
foro externa. 

To sum up briefly, therefore, we say: i. If both parties to a 
marriage, which is null and void on account of some diriment 
ecclesiastical impediment, can be induced to renew their consent 
after the impediment has been dispensed, they must renew their 

All that is needed in this case is a simple dispensation from 
the diriment impediment and a renewal of consent. 

2. If one of the parties to such a marriage be ignorant of the 
nullity of the marriage and cannot be informed of it without great 
hardship — magnumque fore incommodum requirendi a parte innoxia 
renovationem consensus — then a sanatio in radice may be applied, 


provided that the party aware of the nuUity of the marriage renew 
the marriage consent. 

3. Where both parties to the marriage are ignorant of its nullity, 
one of them must be informed of such nullity before the American 
bishops can grant a sanatio in radice. 

4. Where both parties are ignorant of the nullity of their mar- 
riage, and it is impossible to inform either of them of this fact, 
recourse must be had to the Holy See for a sanatio in radice, 
utraque parte inscia nullitatis. 


A father dies heavily insured and heavily in debt. His children 
get the insurance, and could, with the money, pay the father's debts. 
This they refuse to do, however, but instead they are enjoying 
themselves with the money. ( i ) Are they bound to pay the father's 
debts? (2) If some of the children refuse, is one of them bound to 
pay the whole, or his pro rata share ? 

Answer. — Blackstone defines an heir to be "him upon whom the 
law casts the estate immediately on the death of the ancestor." The 
term "heir" in the Roman law applied equally to him who took by 
will and by descent. The civil law, says Kent, held by a strange 
fiction, that the heir was the same person as the ancestor, eadem per- 
sona cum defuncto. The estate, instead of being changed by the 
descent, was deemed to continue in the heir, who succeeded to the 
person and place and estate of the ancestor, and to all his rights and 
obligations. The heir is, therefore, under the civil law said to 
represent the moral person of the intestate. The creditor could 
come upon the heir, not only to the extent of the assets, but to all 
the other property of the heir. Later on Justinian allows the heir 
to protect himself by giving him the benefit of an inventory. These 
provisions of the Roman lav/ on the subject of succession have 
insinuated themselves into the Canon Law of the Church, as well as 
into the law of successions of the Continental nations of Europe. 
Thus the canonist not only uses the terminology of the Roman law 
in this particular matter of succession, but is often guided by the 
spirit of the Roman or civil law in rendering decisions in matters 
of justice. According to the law of the United States, an estate by 



descent renders the heir liable for the debts of his ancestors, to the 
value of the property descended. In New York State, and in most 
of the States of the Union, heirs are liable for the debts of the 
ancestor by simple contract, as well as by specialty, to the extent of 
the assets descended, on condition that the personal estate of the 
ancestor shall be insufficient and shall have been previously ex- 
hausted. The general rule of the English and American law is that 
the personal estate is the primary fund for the discharge of the 
debts, and is to be first applied and exhausted. "I assume," says 
Kent, "that the rule prevails generally in these United States that 
the lands descended to the heirs are liable to the debts of the 
ancestor equally, in all cases, with the personal estate" (Comment 
iv, 422). 

According to the Roman law, and therefore according to the Canon 
Law, heirs succeeded to an estate of an ancestor either titulo uni- 
versali or titulo particulari. A universal heir is one who succeeds 
to the whole estate or property of the ancestor or testator, whether 
such heir be one person or several, and whether he inherit by virtue 
of a last will and testament, or succeed to the property and estate of 
an intestate. A particular heir is one who comes into possession of 
specific property by particular title, whether of legacy or purchase 
or gift. The universal heir was, as has been said, considered by a 
fiction of the Roman law one and the same person as the ancestor. 
His substitution to the ancestor was a kind of continual succession, 
similar to that which is applied to a corporation. 

If the heir succeeded to all the property, he was said to be heres 
ex asse, i. e., sole heir. If he received a fixed part, he was called 
heres ex parte, v. g., heres ex semisse received one half, heres ex 
dodrante received three-fourths of the inheritance, etc. All these 
heirs succeeded titulo universali. Since it is the titulus universalis, 


vrhether to all the property or to a specific part of it, as one-half, 
one-fourth, etc., that constitutes the heir one and the same person 
as the testator, eadem persona cum defuncto, as the civil law has it, 
all heirs who succeed to an inheritance titulo universalis vel ex asse, 
vel ex parte, are liable for the debts of the ancestor, at least to the 
extent of the property descended. If the universal heir be a sole 
heir and succeed with benefit of an inventory, he cannot be held 
liable in foro interna for the debts of his ancestors beyond the assets 
of the ancestor descended. If he succeeds without the benefit of an 
inventory, some theologians maintain that he may be liable not only 
to the extent of the assets descended, but to all his other property. 
Since this is not certain, an heir succeeding without inventory can- 
not be compelled in conscience to pay his ancestor's debts beyond 
the extent of the ancestor's property descended, but if creditors or 
legatees have succeeded in recovering even out of the heir's assets 
that did not descend from the ancestor, they could not be obliged 
in conscience to restore. If the heres universalis is not one person but 
several persons, then in conscience each one is liable for his ancestor's 
debts in proportion to the amount of his share of the inheritance. 
Thus, if each heir received one-third of the estate, each one of them 
would be liable for one-third of the testator's debts, even in case the 
other heirs refused to pay their pro rata share. "Qui acceptat 
hereditatem, eo ipso assumit turn bona et jura turn etiam onera et 
debita REALIA defuncti, modo non excedant vires heredidatis; 
PERSONALIA autem jura et onera defuncti cum ipso extingu- 
untur." (Noldin, de contr. 545.) 

Therefore, the heirs are bound in conscience to pay: (i) the 
legacies willed by the testator, whether to private individuals or to 
public or religious bodies; (2) the testator's lawful debts. All this 
to the extent of the property inherited. If some of the heirs refuse 


to pay, the others are bound pro rata, i. e., if they received one-half 
of the testator's property, they are Hable in conscience for one-half 
of his debts. As a rule, there is no difficulty in this matter, as the 
civil law makes ample provision for the paying of a testator's debts 
out of his assets. 

A legatee, devisee, etc., being an heir titulo particulari, according 
to the civil law, is not liable for the debts of the divisor or testator. 
But by the admirable equity of the civil law, says Kent, donations 
of this nature were not allowed to defeat the just claims of creditors, 
and they were void as against them, even without a fraudulent 
intent. It is equally the language of the modern civilians, that 
donations cannot be sustained to the prejudice of existing creditors. 

It is clear, therefore, that the children of the man in this case 
who died heavily insured and heavily in debt, are bound in con- 
science to pay their father's debts out of his insurance which they 
inherited, nor may they be absolved until they are disposed to do so. 
If some of them refuse to pay, the others are bound to pay a rateable 
share, i. e., such share of the father's debts as shall be a just pro- 
portion of the insurance they received. 


The following is a summary of the latest marriage case tried he- 
fore the Rota: 

On March 30, 1875, Catherine Alexandri and George Bal were 
married at Paris; it was said that Catherine did not freely consent 
to the marriage, but went through the ceremony through the influ- 
ence of her mother. The marriage proved an unhappy one, in a 
short time the couple separated, and in 1883 a civil decree of di- 
vorce was granted to them. In 1908 Catherine Alexandri brought 
her case before the Archiepiscopal Curia of Paris, impugning the 
marriage on the ground of fear and violence, and the sentence was 
given in her favor. The defender of the bond appealed against this 
sentence to the Rota, and in a preliminary meeting of it was agreed 
that the question to be decided should be : 

Is the nullity of the marriage shown? 

The auditors have decided : 

In the aifirmative. 

After quoting from the Corpus luris two passages regarding the 
necessity of consent for the validity of marriage, they point out 
that the doctors interpreting these passages say that "at least accord- 
ing to ecclesiastical law fear is a diriment impediment to matrimony 
when it is grave, even relatively unjust, and produced in order to 
extort consent to a marriage ; which they extend also to reverential 
fear, viz., that by which we dread the indignation of one in whose 
power we are, but in this case the fear must be accompanied by 
something else, importunate or most pressing entreaties, abuse, 


vexations, etc., so that the fear be really grave. In this sense the 
S. Congregation of the Council has frequently declared marriages 
contracted under such influence to be null." 

All these elements are verified in the case under sentence. On 
the one hand the girl's mother wanted the marriage at all costs ; for 
on account of the extravagance of her husband, who was Minister 
in Roumania, of the immense expenses in which both she and he 
indulged, and fOr various other causes, all the property of the famil}- 
had practically disappeared. An evident remedy for this ruin was 
to be found in the marriage of her daughter with. George Bal, a 
youth of great wealth who would improve the status not only of 
the girl, but would liberally help the entire family and especially the 
mother, who would thus be saved from the certainty of her poverty 
becoming public and from being obliged to return to Roumania or 
Moldavia. On the other hand, the girl, who was eighteen years of 
age at the time and of a gentle and timid disposition, absolutely 
abhorred the proposed marriage, for her affection had been centered 
for some years on a youth from her town, Alexander Steriadi, to 
whom she considered herself engaged; besides George Bal was, 
especially at the time, so strikingly ugly as to be repulsive not only 
to the girl, but, as the witnesses testify, to everybody. 

The mother determined to break the will of the reluctant girl 
and bend her to her purpose. She is described by all the witnesses 
as a domineering woman who, in the almost constant absence of 
her husband, exercised full sway in the house and could not brook 
resistance from anyone. She left nothing undone to attain her 
end ; for first she got Alexander Steriadi out of the way by persuad- 
ing him to return to Roumania to make his fortune ; then she made 
up with George Bal and introduced him into her house, but as her 
daughter from the very beginning was opposed to the marriage 

124 '^HE CASUIST— VOL. lit. 

with George Bal, she devised and applied means to bend her will, 
by dwelling on the miserable plight of the family, their imminent 
ruin and degradation and the necessity of returning to Roumania, 
the only remedy being the marriage with Bal, and when all these 
arguments proved fruitless she followed them up with frequent 
abuse, grave .reproaches and continual quarrels. But the girl refused 
to yield. Whenever she was brought into the presence of George 
her behavior was cold and severe, although she did not dare to make 
known by words or deeds her feelings of repugnance to him because 
her mother was always on the watch and never left her alone with 
him. George himself in his evidence before the Judge testified that 
he was struck by her coldness. After these meetings the mother 
used to abuse and even beat her daughter — a fact mentioned by all 
the witnesses as notorious. The girl suffered all the more from this 
from the fact that she had no one to turn to; her father was away 
in Roumania and indeed favored the mother's designs; her elder 
sister was in the city of Valencienne, while the younger one was 
a mere child incapable of rendering any assistance. 

This repugnance lasted until the marriage as the witnesses bear 
testimony; indeed the fact was almost notorious. On the day of 
the marriage the girl looked like a victim led to the sacrifice ; George 
Bal himself remarked on her sadness, and the same sadness affected 
more or less all present, so that one of the servants remarked that it 
was more like a funeral than a marriage. It is true that the girl 
expressed her matrimonial consent before the priest as she herself 
confesses, but this was because she had nowhere to turn at this last 
moment and she muttered her consent under the influence of the 
fear and moral constraint under which she had been laboring for 
many months. George Steriadi, the brother of Catherine's former 
betrothed, wrote to Madame Alexandri a letter concerning which 


he testifies : "I insist upon the fact that this marriage with M. Bal 
was contracted against the girl's will in consequence of the pressure 
brought to bear upon her by her mother. I was so affected and in- 
dignant that at the time I wrote a violent letter to the mother which 
was, doubtless, regrettable but excusable by reason of the grief my 
brother felt at her breaking of her word." This evidence implies 
that it was well known in the family that the marriage had not been 
contracted freely. 

The same thing was shown by the unfortunate results which fol- 
lowed immediately upon the marriage. For the aversion which 
Catherine had conceived for her husband increased rather than 
diminished for, as both he and she testify, Catherine abhorred 
matrimonial relations with him not on conscientious grounds (for 
she thought she was legitimately married), but on account of her 
dislike and repugnance to her husband which she could not over- 
come. The witnesses testify to the quarrels, abuse, beatings, etc., 
which followed, so that even during the first year of the marriage 
the husband wished to secure a separation from his wife, and was 
only restrained from this, as he himself says, because he dreaded 
the scandal and publicity that would follow. But the discord be- 
tween them continued to grow worse, and after about eighteen 
months the plea for separation was filed and at last a civil divorce 
was pronounced between them. 

All this is proved from the acts and allegations. It is true that 
several of the witnesses only testify to what they have heard, but 
it must be remembered (i) that after thirty-three years many of 
the eye-witnesses of the events are dead; (2) that many of the 
witnesses who have deposed in the case are to be believed because 
they treat of a matter which was well known in the family, they had 
their information from good sources and at a time when there was 


no question of a case for nullity, and (3) that there are some eye- 
witnesses who testify to the leading facts. 

Nor can it be said that the petitioner, Catherine Alexandri, is 
open to a suspicion of bad faith because she allowed such a long 
time to elapse before impugning the validity of the marriage. For 
there is a good reason for this. She knew nothing of the nullity of 
her marriage until about 1907, when she attended a catechistical 
instruction in the Church of St. Honore in Paris, and heard an ex- 
planation of the diriment impediments of marriage and, in particular, 
of the impediment of violence and fear. Struck by this she went 
to the Abbe Vigneron who was her adviser and who consulted an 
expert on the question and even came to Rome for the purpose of 
obtaining information. It was thus that the case was brought be- 
fore the ecclesiastical judge, as is testified by the Abbe Vigneron. 

In view of all this the three auditors, Serafino Mary (Ponent), 
Francis Heiner (Auditor of the Bench), and John Prior, confirm 
the sentence of the Archiepiscopal Curia of Paris and pronounce 
that: "The nullity of the marriage between Catherine Alexandri and 
George Bal is proved," deciding that the said Catherine Alexandri is 
obliged to pay all the expenses of the case. 


Dear Editor: 

I am greatly puzzled by a certain recent occurrence in parochial life 
and have desided to seek advice from the Homiletic. The case is as 
follows: During a retreat for first Communion I gave an instruction on 
frequent Communion to the children. On the day when the little lovers 
of Christ came to the altar rail, I took advantage of the occasion to exhort 
them as well as their parents and others who were present to frequent 
and even daily Communion. I was gratified at the result. All that week 
fully one-half of the children commtmicated dailj^ and many of the 
parishioners followed their example. Now, here is the bothering part: The 
pastor saw the children dressed in their white garb on Friday and Saturday 
morning at the rail. Upon inquiry he heard of my Sunday instruction. He 
sent for me and read me a lecture which stunned me. I was forbidden to 
mention the subject of frequent Communion till further notice. In vain I 
pleaded the decree of our Holy Father. I was told my duty was to obey 
my pastor. His arguments were about Confession and routine, etc. Now, 
what am I to do? It would be easy to obey him, but would I be doing the 
right thing? Thanking you, etc., 

Yours in Christ, 

Father N. 

Answer. — Our friend seems to be overtroubled about the matter. 
It is easy to know what to do, since it is not diflficult to know the 
right thing. We are obhged to obey the voice of God and not that 
of man. Without doubt the instructions of a pastor are to be 
obeyed by an assistant, otherwise there would be no harmony, no 
unity, without which there would be no hope of success in any 
field of labor, particularly in the vineyard of the Lord. But there 
is no obligation to obey the commands of the head of the parish 
when his orders are in direct contradiction to the commands of 



his and our superiors. When our bishop, or the Holy Father, gives 
us specific commands which impose on us duties at once clear and 
feasible, then we are bound to obey these commands, our pastor 
or anyone else to the contrary notwithstanding. In the matter of 
frequent Communion, Pius X. has not left us free to do as we like. 
He has obliged all having the direction of souls to lead them 
frequently, yea, daily, to the Sacrament of the altar. I insist he has 
not left us free, he has placed on our shoulders an obligation which 
cannot conscientiously be shirked by any priest, be he bishop or 
pastor or curate. This position is clear from a study of the atti- 
tude of the present reigning Pontiff with regard to the blessed 
Sacrament. Pius X. has proposed to himself as the object of his 
special endeavor "to restore all things in Christ." It would seem 
from a cursory survey of his line of action that his method is to 
awaken love for Christ in the hearts of His children. We find him 
a staunch advocate of devotion to Christ in the blessed Sacrament, 
and particularly of frequent Communion. 

Let us refer here to some of his decrees, etc., on this matter : 

May 30, 1905. — Pius X. indulgenced a "Prayer for the spread of 
the pious practice of daily Communion." 

June 4, 1905. — The Holy Father decided to close the Eucharistic 
Congress at Rome in person. The following passage is taken from 
his allocution : "I beg and beseech of you all that you recommend 
the faithful to receive the Divine Sacrament. And I address myself 
in a special manner to you, my dear sons, who are priests, in order 
that Jesus, the richest Treasure of paradise, the greatest Good ever 
possessed by poor, forlorn humanity, may not be abandoned in so 
injurious and thankless a manner." 

December 20, 1905. — Decree concerning the frequent and daily 
reception of the holy Eucharist, This is the first in importance. It 


opens with a rapid historical sketch ; then, in eight short paragraphs, 
we have some perfectly clear rules, or answers ; and, as a conclu- 
sion, an absolute forbiddance of contentious disputes concerning 
the dispositions required for the frequent and daily Communion. 
Articles i and 2 are to be adhered to strictly : 

"i. Frequent and daily Communion, as a thing most earnestly de- 
sired by Christ our Lord and by the Catholic Church, should be 
open to all the faithful of whatever rank and condition of life; so 
that no one who is in the state of grace, and who approaches the 
Holy Table with a right and devout intention can lawfully be hin- 
dered therefrom. 

"2. A right intention consists in this : That he who approaches 
the Holy Table should do so, not out of routine, or vainglory, or 
human respect, but for the purpose of pleasing God, of being more 
closely united with Him by charity, and of seeking this divine 
remedy for his weaknesses and defects." 

February 14, 1906. — Those who receive Communion at least five 
times in the week are able to gain plenary indulgences, even though 
they go to Confession only once a fortnight, or once a month, or 
even less often — for the decree puts no limit. 

August 10, 1906. — The brief Romanorum PontiUcum approves 
and enriches with indulgences and extraordinary privileges the 
Priests' Eucharistic League (Lega Sacerdotale Eucharisticd) , insti- 
tuted for the special object of "bringing the faithful to the practise 
of frequent daily reception of the holy Eucharist." 

By a favor without precedent, confessors enrolled in this league 
can impart to those of their penitents who are accustomed to com- 
municate daily, or nearly so, a plenary indulgence once a week. 

August 16, 1906. — Cardinal V. Vannutelli, delegated by the Pope, 
declared at Tournai that the great papal act was "the fruit, the 


victory, the triumph of the Eucharistic Congresses," and that it 
should serve as a guide in all their undertakings, 

September 15, 1906. — The decree of December 20, 1905, is to be 
applied not only to grown-up people, or to the youth of either sex, 
but to children besides, once they have made their first Communion 
according to the rules of the Roman Catechism. That Catechism 
allows them to make it as soon as they have sufficient discretion. 
Every contrary practice that may anywhere prevail is condemned. 

December 7, 1906. — Sick people who have been laid up for a 
month, without any sure prospect of speedy convalescence, are 
allowed to receive the holy Eucharist, although they have taken 
some nourishment since midnight per modum potus; and that once 
or twice a week, if the blessed Sacrament be kept in the house ; if 
not, once or twice a month. (It has been explained that such things 
as chocolate, tapioca, semolina, soup containing bread-crumbs, are 
covered by the expression per modum potus.) 

March 25, 1907. — The preceding decree is extended to those who, 
though seriously ill, are obliged, or able, to leave their beds at times 
during the day. 

April 10, 1907. — Bishops are desired to have celebrated yearly 
in their cathedrals a special Triduum, for the object of exhorting 
the faithful to frequent Communion. In parish churches one day 
of religious exercises may be regarded as sufficient. Special indul- 
gences granted. 

May 8, 1907. — General leave given to distribute holy Communion 
in private oratories to all those who attend Mass — "saving parochial 
rights" — which means except in the case of the Easter Communion 
and Viaticum. 

July 14, 1907. — A brief once more appointing Cardinal V. Van- 
nutelli Papal Legate to the Congress of Metz, which was wholly 


dedicated to the subject of holy Communion. "Here," says the 
brief, "we surely have the shortest way towards procuring the sal- 
vation of each person in particular, as well as of society." And the 
Cardinal, in closing the Congress, congratulated it upon having 
been the "faithful, docile and unfaltering echo of the decree on 
daily Communion." 

Conclusion. — Thus has his Holiness Pope Pius X. in the past 
four years of his Pontificate heaped act upon act to make the Catho- 
lic world understand that — ^to quote the letter addressed to the 
Legate for the occasion of the Metz Congress — "the center of Chris- 
tian life, and, so to say, the soul of the Church, is found in the 

According to the decree, then, of December, 1905, wherein the 
Supreme Ruler of the Church — the Ruler of bishops and pastors 
and curates as well as of the faithful — expresses his will, the faith- 
ful, including the children, are to be brought to the practise of 
frequent and even daily Communion. Are we not right in saying 
that such a manifestation of will, made with such insistence on the 
part of the supreme legislator, is nothing more nor less than the 
manifestation of the will of Christ himself? And are we not, there- 
fore, obliged to obey it ? It is true that the decree is not an infallible 
one, but It is an authoritative one. Those who have studied the 
theological tracts on the constitution of the Church know full well 
that they owe a ready obedience to such decrees. No pastor is 
allowed to follow ad libitum his own views on the matter. This 
decree is both doctrinal and disciplinary. This is the view set forth 
by Cardinal Vannutelli, one of the signers of the decree. As this 
matter is well developed in a brochure, entitled "The Eucharistic 
Triduum," by Pere Lintelo, S.J. (translated by Pere Zulueta, S.J.), 
we here quote from it: 


"This decree is both a doctrinal and disciplinary one." Conse- 
quently, it regulates something in the sphere of doctrine, and enjoins 
something in the sphere of action or practise. 

(a) In the Sphere of Doctrine, the decree affirms certain 
truths, and, by the very fact of doing so, indirectly imposes a duty — 
that of mentally accepting the truths affirmed. It does not indeed 
bind individual Catholics actually to practise frequent or daily Com- 
munion, under pain of sin. It ought not to be necessary to em- 
phasize so great a truth. But human nature is ever liable to ex- 
tremes. Thus the decree itself records the grotesque exaggerations 
in the past on the part of some who, justly alarmed at the evil fruits 
of anti-Eucharistic Jansenism, fell into the opposite extreme of 
representing daily Communion as a divine precept. But, on the 
other hand, this tendency to exaggerate is by no means confined to 
advocates of the "salutary practise." It also reveals itself in those 
who, fighting shy, on one pretext or another, of the Pope's pressing 
invitations to the Holy Table, take refuge in the fanciful plea that . 
priests who earnestly promote daily Communion in obedience to 
Article VI. of the decree, are equivalently foisting a new precept on 
the faithful. On the same principle, the zealous parish priest who ac- 
tively promotes public night prayers in his church, or daily recitation 
in common of the Rosary in families, is creating a new precept. 
And, certainly, the rule of monthly Communion, so strongly im- 
pressed upon children of Mary and members of guilds, ought, on 
the same grounds, to be regarded as tantamount to a precept. 

There is a lack of proportion in all this. The truth lies between 
the two extremes. Neither the decree nor its promoter contemplates 
the use of daily Communion as an obligation. But the Papal pro- 
nouncement does, of its very nature, oblige us — ecclesiastics and 
laity — to give real interior assent of the mind to the teaching and 


principles of Eucharistic practise which it lays down, and con- 
sequently to abandon, as false, all spiritual theories which conflict 
with that teaching and with those principles, or which render either 
nugatory. As our author puts it: "If infallibility has not spoken, 
authority, at all events, has." It is unnecessary, in a work intended 
for priests, to deal with that too common delusion that infallible 
utterances are the only ones which claim the inward and conscienti- 
ous submission of Catholics. 

(b) In the sphere of action, too, the decree imposes several 
things. In Article V. confessors are told to beware of hindering 
any one {ne quemquam avertant) from even daily reception of the 
Eucharist who receives in the state of grace and with a right inten- 
tion. According to Article VI., priests — 1. e., "parish priests, con- 
fessors, and preachers, in accordance with the approved teaching of 
the Roman Catechism" (Part II., cap. 4, n. 60) — are frequently 
and with much seal to exhort the faithful to this devout and salutary 
practise. In Article VII. the practise is ordered to be promoted 
"especially" in "Religious Orders and Congregations of all kinds 
. . . in ecclesiastical seminaries, and in Christian establishments, 
of whatever kind, for the training of youth." Further, after the 
publication of the decree writers are ordered to abstain "from con- 
tentious controversies concerning the dispositions requisite for fre- 
quent and daily Communion." In the concluding sentence of the 
decree His Holiness is stated as having "further ordered" that "local 
ordinaries and regular prelates," in their reports concerning the 
state of their respective dioceses or institutes, should inform the 
Holy See concerning the execution of the matters therein deter- 
mined. Here, then, we have not a few duties imposed by the said 
decree. We may sum up the matter thus : While the actual use of 
frequent and daily Communion is not enjoined, many other things 



are ordered for bringing about as widespread an adoption of that 
practise as possible among all classes of the faithful. 

Yet, with regard even to actual practise, the decree, while giving 
no command, contains something far more pressing than a mere 
spiritual suggestion. It gives an urgent counsel — since repeated 
many times by the Holy See in various forms — to all the faithful, 
children communicants included, as the Ansvv^er of September 15, 
1906, puts beyond all cavil. This, then, is no mere refinement of 
piety, to be indulged in by such as have a taste for it. 

Importance and Authority of the Document 

"As the decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Council on 
Daily Communion has been solemnly promulgated by the command 
of the Sovereign Pontiff, it becomes, therefore, a legislative Act 
passed by the universal legislator, and the whole Church is bound to 
obey it . . . all teaching opposed to what it declares to be 
that of the Church regarding the practise of daily Communion must 
be withdrawn, and be silent henceforth; every custom or practise 
opposed to what it ordains must cease" (Tesniere, "Commentary," 
p. 16). 

Here are some declarations made by Cardinal Vannutelli, the 
dignitary who signed the decree, and Papal Legate, in his opening 
speech at the Eucharistic Congress at Tournai, August 16, 1906: 

"It is competent authority that speaks concerning frequent access 
to the Holy Table . . . This great pontifical Act, so maturely 
considered, and so seasonably promulgated, is at one and the same 
time both doctrinal and disciplinary." 

Under these circumstances, theologians declare that Catholics are 
bound in conscience to yield to the decree "an interior assent of 


the mind, even though the decree have not the character of a final 
judgment that It is of its own nature unalterable ... To re- 
fuse that assent would be to sin by rashness {Choupin, S.J., "Valeur 
des decisions du Saint-Siege"). If infallibility has not spoken, 
authority, at least, has. 

The Cardinal, moreover, boldly proclaimed the duty of everyone: 

"All of you, illustrious members of the Episcopate, civil magis- 
trates, presidents of organizations, priests, religious, laity — Catholics 
here present — you have all fully understood, as I am glad to bear 
witness, the duty incumbent upon this Congress — the first assembled 
since the decree was issued. That duty can be no other than grate- 
fully to take action upon the same, to welcome it with reverence, 
to hail it with enthusiasm, and make it henceforward the watch- 
word to be woven upon our banner for a beneficent propaganda, and 
to serve as a symbol of the perfect union which should reign in 
future amongst all Catholics. 

"The decree of December 20 (1905) is, in truth, like a rainbow 
appearing in the firmament of the Church as a sign that the squall 
has blown over, and that the Heart of Jesus — the Heart of the 
King of Peace in the Eucharist — resumes His undivided empire over 
souls, even as, in nature, after a storm, the sun once more freely 
diffuses light and heat." 

There ought, then, to be no obscurity upon the question of the 
duty of priests with regard to daily Communion. 

To Priests 

I. Their Duty. — "Parish priests are bound, in virtue of their 
pastoral ofiice, to exhort the faithful frequently to take as much 
care to nourish their souls daily with this Sacrament as they deem 


it necessary to bestow upon securing material bread for the nourish- 
ment of their bodies. For it is evident that the soul has no less 
need of food than the body. And it will be extremely useful for 
winning over their hearers if preachers recall to their minds the im- 
mense, and wholly divine, benefits which flow from holy Com- 
munion. Let them discourse, in particular, upon that miraculous 
and prophetical bread — the manna — with which the Israelites were 
obliged to nourish themselves each day, and give authorities from 
the writings of the fathers — those powerful advocates of frequent 
reception of this Sacrament. For it was not St. Augustine alone 
who expressed the sentiment: 'Since you sin daily partake daily 
of the antidote to sin.' If anyone will examine into the matter he 
will find that it conveys the mind of all of those fathers who have 
treated of holy Communion" (Roman Catechism, Part II, chap, iv. 
n. 54)- 

This passage from the Catechism of the Council of Trent is 
referred to in several documents of Pius X. relating to daily Com- 

Let us add the following words taken from the same Catechism, 
n. 39 : "There is, in fact, no class of the faithful to whom the knowl- 
edge of all that can be said of the wonderful power and fruits of 
this Sacrament is not easily accessible and at the same time most 

2. Is Every Pastor Bound to Procure Daily Communion 
AMONGST His Flock as Far as Possible? — "The inability to com- 
municate under which many of the faithful labor, if it be involun- 
tary, is a misfortune — a distressing poverty which should move the 
compassion and zeal of pastors to diminish the same to the best of 
their power. If it be voluntary, and due to contempt for the Divine 
Bread and indifference to salvation, it is an evil to be combated 


without respite, and with a zeal that should become the more intense 
in proportion to the outrage inflicted by such contempt upon the 
Heart of Him whose loving designs the priest professes to forward. 
A universal aloofness from daily Communion can never be viewed 
as a good state of things, nor even calmly acquiesced in. At best, 
it can be borne as being, it is true, a lesser misfortune or evil than 
profanation of the Sacred Bread ; yet one that is to be pursued with- 
out a truce by means of illuminating instruction, zealous exhorta- 
tion, and even by warnings as to the sad effects which follow from 
it. It is a case of recalling the command of St. Paul to Timothy: 
'Preach the good word, be instant in season and out of season: 
reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine' Tim. iv, 2" 
{Tesniere, "Pratique," />. 49). 

The difficulties raised about the burden of Confession have no 
value since the Pope has provided for this in his decrees. Nor need 
wc consider the danger of routine further than to say that if we put 
any stress on this point we would all become pagans in the religious 
world and good-for-nothings in the civic realm. The objecting 
pastor would have to give up his daily Mass, his daily office, etc., 
upon the same score, viz., danger of routine. To conclude, we say 
that the pastor transgressed his jurisdiction and the curate should 
hear and obey the voice of the supreme pastor, the vicar of Christ. 


The following interesting case appeared in the Monitore ecclesi- 
astico: The priest Papyrius, afflicted with chronic stomach trouble, 
is directed by his physician to wash out his stomach every morning 
by means of a stomach-pump. He does this sometimes before, but 
more frequently after, Mass. The question is asked: Is the use of 
a stomach-pump permissible before or after Mass, i. e., before or 
after holy Communion? 

The stomach-pump is constructed of a rubber tube, which is 
lowered through the mouth into the stomach to flush it with water 
or other fluid. Attached to the tube is an arrangement by which 
the fluid and undigested food are brought up. Such a pump serves, 
therefore, chiefly the purpose of extracting undigested food from 
the stomach. Often the tube is lubricated with some kind of oil 
to facilitate the introduction. 

With these facts in mind, we will take up the first question: Is 
the use of the stomach-pump permissible before holy Communion. 
The jejunium natiirale is imperiled, either by particles of the oil 
with "which the tube is greased, or through the fact that some of the 
water may be sucked up by the stomach. It is certain that any 
lubrication with oil must be omitted in order to preserve the jeju- 
nium naturale, and it can be omitted all the more easily as physicians 
do not consider such lubrication necessary. But is the jejunium 
naturale violated by the water introduced by the pump into the 
stomach? The jejunium naturale is broken in the opinion of theo- 


logians under the following conditions: (i) ut res sumpta haheat 
rationem cibi auf potus, i. e., it must be digestible; (2) ut sumatur 
ah extrinseco. Saliva or blood from nose, mouth or lungs may enter 
the stomach without interfering with the jejunium; (3) ut sumatur 
per modum comestionis ant potationis (S. Alph. I. vi., n. 280). In 
explaining this last condition Lemkuhl states explicitly that food 
and drink do not break the jejunium naturale if taken aut per 
modum salivae, aut per modum aspirationis, aut per modum attrac- 
tionis per nares (11. n. 160). Per modum salivae means that some- 
thing has been taken into the mouth for cleansing teeth or mouth, 
or for tasting, and, upon spitting it out, some of it remains. Even 
the Mass rubrics allow rinsing the mouth, even at the risk of a little 
water entering the stomach. {De defectihus Missae tit. 9, n. 3.) 
Per modum aspirationis means that gnats, dust, snow, are acci- 
dentally taken into the stomach by inhalation. Per modum attrac- 
tionis per nares: it is not forbidden to take a pinch of snuff before 
holy Communion, even if accidently a particle of it should be 
swallowed. St. Alphonsus adds that even the chewing of tobacco 
(though extremely filthy) does not violate the jejunium, even if 
unintentionally some particles enter the stomach by getting mixed 
with the saliva. It is evident from all this that the Church does not 
prohibit food and drink to enter the stomach before holy Com- 
munion, but merely forbids it to be taken per modum cibi et potus. 
Lacroix explains this in the words : Tum aliquid sumitur per modum 
comestionis vel potationis, si hoc quod trajicitur ; et modus traji- 
ciendi, suMciai in morali aestimatione ut quis censeatur comedisse 
aut bibisse. (L. vi, P. i, n. 554.) There is no doubt, then, that 
the stomach-pump may be used without violating the jejunium, for 
it cannot be asserted that by its application the patient eats or 


The other question is asked : Is the use of the stomach-pump 
permissible immediately after holy Communion? To this question 
we must answer "No," for there is danger that the sacred species 
may be brought up with other matter and desecration would take 
place. It is true that the process of digestion begins as soon as 
the sacred species comes in contact with the saliva in the mouth. 
Nevertheless, the process is retarded in a weak stomach, where it 
takes place very slowly, and there should therefore be an interval 
of a half hour at least — under circumstances even a whole hour — 
before the stomach may be so treated without irreverence to the 
Blessed Sacrament. {Capellman, Medicina Past.: ed. III. lat p. 


On August 14, 1893, the Chancery of Venice submitted the follow- 
ing case to Rome : Among the alumni who are to receive ordina- 
tion as subdeacons there is one Antonio Saccordo, born 1872, who 
has distinguished himself in an especial manner by talent, piety, 
and proficiency in studies. However, he has suffered since early 
3^outh from nervous attacks which, according to season and other 
conditions, make their appearance with longer or shorter intervals. 
When seized by such an attack the patient suddenly halts for about 
a minute and in silence, restrained by an affliction of the nerves, 
without however falling to the floor ; he feels the approach of attacks, 
and then quickly endeavors to take firm hold of a person or other 
support ; he rapidly rallies of his own accord, and can then, without 
the aid of drugs or refreshments, proceed with his usual occupa- 

These attacks are not accompanied by grinding of teeth, foaming, 
groaning or screaming, though there is at times slight trembling. 
As there seemed to be no serious affliction, the young man had 
been given the Ordines minores; but before bestowing subdeacon's 
orders, the ordinary desired the instructions of the Sacred Congrega- 
tion. The advice of competent persons had been obtained, but their 
opinions varied. It is mentioned that the suflferer has for many 
years used a cold-water cure, but, apparently, without improvement. 
To this statement of facts was adduced the statement of a prominent 
physician, who stated it as his professional opinion that this alum- 
nus may, without apprehension, be admitted to Holy Orders. 



The S. C. answered Pro nunc non expedire. After two years, in 
1895, the newly appointed Patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Sarto 
(now Pius X.) again applied to Rome, proposing that ad cautelam 
an assistant be given the Alumnus for holy Mass. Rome ordered 
that a new medical examination be made. It resulted favorably, 
and under date of September 12, 1896, the S. C. granted Pro gratia, 
arbitrio et prudentia Emi Patriarchae, adhibitis cautelis sibi bene- 
visiSj facto verbo cum SSmo. 

This case shows how carefully, even rigidly, Rome proceeds in 
regard to irregularity. 

A similar case occurred in the year 1866, under almost identical 
circumstances. An alumnus suffering from epilepsy had attacks 
every four or five months, either at night or about an hour after 
rising. According to physicians' opinion these attacks were not 
likely to occur during the day ; moreover, they were not due to an 
organic trouble, but entirely the result of the unrest of mind from 
which the alumnus suffered at that time. Nevertheless, the S. C. 
replied to the first petition: Pro nunc non expedire. The following 
year the alumnus, endorsed by bishop and physician, appealed again 
to Rome and was again refused, with the instruction: Dilata et re- 
currat post sex menses, cxhibito documento etiam altcrius medici ab 
episcopo deputandi. The subsequent medical opinion was equally 
favorable, and, finally, under date of January 11, 1868, the answer 
came : Pro gratia dispensationis et Jiabilitationis , facto verbo cum 


Father Alexius, an order priest, had the misfortune, on the first 
Sunday of Lent, to injure the index finger of his right hand so 
badly that the nail was entirely torn off. It was a matter of weeks, 
even months, before a new nail would form, and until then the 
finger had to remain bandaged. Father Alexius was about to resign 
himself to the sad necessity of abstaining from saying Mass, when 
the thought occurred to him: Is it really forbidden to use, in case 
of necessity, the middle finger in place of the index finger, in say- 
ing Mass? After some thought and recourse to manuals of Moral 
Theology, Father Alexius, with the approval of his local superior, 
continued to celebrate his daily Mass, the middle finger, not with- 
out difficulty, doing service in place of the index finger. 

True, the rubrics explicitly require the priest, at holy Mass as 
well as in distributing holy Communion, to hold the form of bread 
invariably with thumb and index finger — pollice et indice. Never- 
theless, the fact that this, as the convenient and natural way of 
handling, is prescribed, does not mean that holy Mass should be 
omitted rather than employ another finger. The rubrics prescribe 
many other motions in an exact manner ; nevertheless, if on ac- 
count of some hindrance on a particular occasion a certain motion 
could not be made in the exact way, one would without hesitation 
do the best one could. 

Or, is there a particular significance in the use of the index finger, 
such as, for instance, in the fast before holy Communion, or a 
ratio mystica, as in mixing the wine with water? What particular 
significance could there be? 



If it be objected that thumb and forefinger have been specially 
anointed for this purpose at ordination, it should be remem- 
bered that the whole palm of the hand is anointed together with 
the other fingers. The anointing of these two fingers is performed 
not as if they alone were anointed, but upon the thumb is begun the 
one and upon the index finger the other arm of the cross to be 
made upon the palm of the hand. Hence, it is hard to understand 
why St. Alphonsus and some others, who have in mind this sup- 
posedly special office of these two fingers, will not permit distribu- 
tion of holy Communion with other fingers except in cases of 
extreme necessity. 

Take the case of a deacon, for instance, none of his fingers are 
anointed, and yet on occasion of even slight need he may distribute 
holy Communion. Ballerini {Opus theol. morale, torn. IV., p. 640) 
says on this subject: Alias quidem permittunt; ut laicus {in neces- 
sitate) deferat aut levet c terra, permittunt unrationahili ex causa 
petatur Encharistia ab excommunicato vel peccatore, et nunc dis- 
putant de digito! 

To the objection impedit exercitium ordinis, quidquid impedit 
ordinis suisceptionem. At qui qui dehiles habet eos digitos, impeditur 
ab ordine suscipiendo, the same author replies: Resp. (i) N. A.; 
nam multa superveniunt sacerdoti, quae non impediunt exercitium, 
quae tamen impedivissent susceptionem. 

(2) Aliter iudicandum est de impedimenta antecedenti et per- 
petuo, quando honor divini cultus exigit, ut perfecti ac sine macula 
eligantur; aliter de accidentali, quod subsequatur. 

(3) Falso supponitur, eandem habere gravitatem, quidquid prae- 
scribitur; neque enim cadem est necessitas eorum omnium, quae 
exiguntur. Ergo levior, interdum levissima causa exciuat a qui- 


These answers cover partly the objection of irregularity. In our 
case it is irregularity in the general sense, the prohibition to execute 
the ordo which one can either not perform at all, or not with pro- 
priety. Even St. Alphonsus here advises : Continnaf. And Tour- 
nely observes : Si quis careat indice poterit dispensationem obtinere. 
And Palmieri holds (Op. mor. torn. VIL, p. 375) : Nee videtur esse 
ulla diMcultas in ea concedenda^ cum digitus mediiis tantundem in 
actione sacra valeat praestare quod index. Yes, more : Quae ratio 
esse posset dubitandi, an huiusmodi sit vere irregularis; nee certus 
canon habetur. 

In fact, c. 7, de corpore vitiatis, refers to some one who lacks the 
thumb-nail, much needed for breaking the Host, and yet permits his 
promotio ad sacerdotium^ provided the thumb is otherwise strong. 

According to all this a dispensation, or special permission, to 
celebrate with the middle instead of the index finger is not even 
required. Even, though only the Pope can dispense from the rubrics 
of the Mass, the principle that may be applied here is : Lex positiva 
non obligat cum incommodo proportionate gravi (here also me- 
diocri) . 

To this view a Roman decision seems to be opposed which Gar- 
dellini-Miihlbauer quotes under the head Sacerdos digitis laborans. 
A priest of the diocese of Treves injured his index finger so badly 
that it became forever useless for celebrating Mass. His bishop 
appealed to Rome for dispensation with an array of important rea- 
sons, such as the priest's worthiness, the prevailing lack of priests, 
etc., whereupon the Congregation granted : Rescripsit pro gratia dis- 
pensationis et habilitationis iuxta votum Episcopi, facto verba cum 
Sanctissimo (26 Jan., 1861). That in this case the index finger 
was forever, and in our case only temporarily, unavailable, is for 
our question unimportant, the question before us, namely, whether 


stante impedimento digiti indicis it be allowed to celebrate with 
the middle finger, without formal dispensation. That a dispensa- 
tion has on some occasions been granted does not prove that such 
dispensation is required, nor the need of applying for it, since in 
numerous instances Rome is unnecessarily petitioned without always 
eliciting the familiar Et amplius (ne proponatur). And the fact 
that a permission is given by high authority does not mean that 
this permission could not have been granted by a lesser authority. 

Concerning Father Alexius, he found, moreover, to his entire satis- 
faction, that per communicationem privilegiorum in his Order the 
local superior is fer. 11. , post I. Dominicam Quadragesimae au- 
thorized to grant dispensation a quibusvis irregularitatibus in suis 
subditis. The superior had given his consent that Sunday evening, 
without giving thought to this particular faculty ; his intention con- 
tinued virtute on Monday, and should a dispensation be required this 
would suffice completely, according to quantum possum et tu indiges, 
which intention, without doubt, prevailed here. 

Joseph Schellauf, S.J. 


(i) Father Anastasius, pastor of a large parish, has during Eas- 
ter time on many days a large number of people at his confessional. 
It happens then that persons come to Confession, who, as Father 
Anastasius realizes, are in need of a General Confession. Father 
Anastasius considers that he has not time for this now, and he 
knows a way out. He makes with such persons an appointment 
when they are to come and make a General Confession, and for the 
present bids them awaken contrition, bestows absolution and dis- 
misses them. 

(2) Sophia, a woman of wealth and position, comes to Confes- 
sion. To the question whether she had ever concealed a mortal 
sin in Confession, without having since made reparation, Sophia 
answers in the affirmative. Father Anastasius directs her to make 
good this wrong now by the required repetition of Confessions. 
Sophia objects that she cannot possibly stay longer in the Con- 
fessional, nor omit holy Communion, both propter grave famae 
pericuhim, because friends have come with her and are waiting. 
She promises, however, to come soon for a General Confession. 
Father Anastasius thereupon listens to the necessary materia abso- 
lutionis and absolves Sophia, as he would one seriously sick who 
for the time being cannot make a complete confession. 

Father Anastasius submits his procedure in these cases to his 
confessor for approval. What is to be said to cases i and 2. 

The confessor must say, as regards case i, that Father Anasta- 
sius, who, on account of a great number of penitents, releases them 



and himself from the obligation of material completeness of Con- 
fession, commits a grave sin. This is clear from the condemnation 
by Innocent XI. of the opinion : Licet sacramentaliter absohere 
dimidiate tantimi confesses ratione magni concur sus poenitentium, 
qiMilis verhi gratia potest contingere in die magnae alicuius festivi- 
tatis, aut indulgentiae. It is true that in Father Anastasius' case 
Confessions at Easter time are concerned, not those on the occasion 
of a great festival, or Indulgence, to which the condemned proposi- 
tion refers. But the prohibition has reference to the practise gen- 
erally, and the great festival, or Indulgence, are merely quoted as 
examples of occasions upon which a great many Confessions may 
occur. The fact that a great number of penitents surround the 
confessional is not of itself sufficient reason to disturb the proper 
order of the tribunal of penance. According to the unanimous 
teaching of theologians there can excuse from the material in- 
tegrity of Confession only a very (omnino) great and casual harm, 
that might arise out of the material completeness to either penitent, 
confessor, or a third person. A great number of penitents does not 
necessarily involve such harm for anybody. Some of these peni- 
tents may not be in need of Confession, others may be well able to 
go to Confession elsewhere, and the insistence upon material com-, 
pleteness would not cause them great harm. On the other hand, the 
habit of curtailing Confessions on such occasions, will put the con- 
fessor in danger of absolving insufficiently disposed penitents. 
Whenever theologians enumerate reasons that excuse from ma- 
terial completeness of Confession, they take it for granted that this 
danger is not encountered, and this is something which Father Anas- 
tasius seems to have ignored. There is no possible injury impor- 
tant enough to justify the absolution of a penitent not sufficiently 
disposed, and, as Segneri (Confessore Istruito II.) very correctly 


remarks, it is far better that few are healed than that many are 
dealt with and not one healed. For this reason Father Anastasius, 
in our case, cannot excuse himself from the obligation to insist on 
the material completeness of Confession, ob defectum temporis, 
time was wanted by him only on account of the large number of 
waiting penitents ; he can release himself from this duty still less 
because of the danger of absolving penitents not well disposed. 

We will not maintain, however, that, with a throng of penitents 
waiting, the confessor is never allowed to prefer the interest of 
waiting penitents to the completeness of Confession. He will be 
permitted to follow this course in a case when the waiting peni- 
tents would be exposed to great harm. This is evident from the 
opinion of theologians dispensing with the material integrity of 
Confession. This opinion is not included in the condemned prop- 
osition. It is not declared that it is never allowed to curtail Confes- 
sion when there is a large number of penitents, but that it is not 
allowed to do so merely on account of the great crowd, or, as 
Berrardi (Prax. Conf. n. 1048, VI L) states it: Damnatio respicit 
casum, in quo confessarius propter dictum concursum passim dimi- 
diat confessiones, audiendo dumtaxat unum vel alterum peccatum 
et illico dando absolutionem. Nor is opposed to this opinion the 
admonition of St. Alphonsus to confessors in the event of a great 
crowd of penitents : Nan ei curae esse debet, quod alii poenitentes 
expectent, nam tunc confessarius non tenetur attendere ad bonum 
aliorum, sed tantum sui poenitentis; pro quo tantum ille tunc, non 
vero pro aliis rationem est Deo redditurus. 

This admonition has reference to the case when the required dis- 
position is wanting in the penitent, and when it is the confessor's 
duty so to dispose him that he may be validly absolved. We are 
speaking here of the material integrity in the Confession of a peni- 


tent who is well disposed. As a rule, it is also the duty of con- 
fessors to supply a deficiency in integrity, but this duty is neither 
so absolute nor so great as the former, because material integrity 
in the Confession of a well-disposed penitent is required not for 
valid, but for lawful absolution. There is, therefore, in our case 
not, as St. Alphonsus presumes in the passage cited, the good of 
one penitent opposed to the good of others, but, rather, the ma- 
terial integrity of the Confession opposed to the good of the wait- 
ing penitents, and hence our case is quite different from the one St. 
Alphonsus presupposes. Indeed, the holy Doctor teaches {H. A. 
tr., XVI., n. 30), that a penitent is excused from material integrity 
of Confession (and that the confessor is to take care of it) when- 
ever there is to be feared from it great harm for the penitent or 
others. Hence, it is allowed beyond doubt to curtail the Confession, 
whenever, and to the extent in which, the completeness of Confes- 
sion causes great harm to waiting penitents. An example of this 
is found in Lehmkuhl, Vol. II., n. 329. There can be dispute 
only of the required extent of the harm that would excuse. 

To resume the case of Father Anastasius, ovir opinion follows : 
If the time for Easter Communion draws to an end and Father 
Anastasius knows that it will be impossible for the waiting peni- 
tents to comply elsewhere, or later, with the precept, then we con- 
sider that for this reason it is permissible to absolve a well-disposed 
penitent with neglect of the material completeness of the Confes- 
sion, provided, of course, that absolution is necessary to this peni- 
tent. The obligation to fulfil the commandment makes absolution 
so necessary to this penitent that it would be lawful to absolve him 
even upon incomplete confession. That the same necessity is pres- 
ent in the case of the waiting penitents supplies the defectus tem- 
poris which excuses from the material completeness of the Con- 


fession in the individual case. It cannot be objected that the con- 
fessor might extend the Easter time for the waiting penitents, for 
this might be objected also regarding the individual penitent, which 
the theologians, however, omit to do. 

Nevertheless, we believe that a case where it would for this rea- 
son be allowed to neglect the material completeness of the Con- 
fession will seldom occur, because the confessor cannot easily have 
knowledge of the condition of the waiting penitents, and, more- 
over, particularly at Easter time there must many penitents be 
supposed wanting in the proper disposition. For this reason it is 
at such time better to tarry than to hurry. 

In regard to case 2, the confessor will approve of Father Anasta- 
sius' opinion that Sophia may, in this case, be absolved after a ma- 
terially imperfect confession. The opinion of Father Anastasius 
is obviously based on the teaching of theologians, and Segneri 
solves the same case (/. c.) in the same manner. Father Anasta- 
sius erred, however, in concluding that, because Sophia was ex- 
cused from making a complete confession, she was likewise excused 
from accusation of recent sins further than what was sufficient for 
the materia absolutionis, though she could confess these sine grain, 
famae periculo. This certainly is not correct. The obligation 
of material integrity of the Confession refers not modo indiviso upon 
the totality of the grievous sins committed by the penitent, but 
modo diviso upon the individual ones. It follows that even if the 
penitent for some reason is excused from the accusation of some 
particular sins, nevertheless, the obligation of the material integrity 
of the Confession in regard to other grievous sins committed con- 
tinues. For this reason Berardi says in the passage quoted : Curan- 
dum, lit quanto minus fieri possit, intcgritas materialis detrimentum 
patiatur. And Segneri, in a case identical with that of Father Anas- 


tasius, does not state it as the rule to require only the necessary 
materia absoliiiionis and then absolve, but to require of the penitent 
the accusation of as many grievous sins as is possible in the avail- 
able time and only then to absolve. So should Father Anastasius 
have acted in the case of Sophia. Therefore, he was not justified in 
dealing with Sophia as with "one grievously sick, who, for the 
time being, cannot make a complete confession." In the case of a 
person grievously sick there is physical or moral impossibility of 
speaking, which is not to that extent the case with Sophia. While 
she stated that "she could not possibly remain at this time longer 
in the confessional," she evidently meant the length of time needed 
for repetition of former Confessions. 

We are finally of the opinion that Father Anastasius should have 
considered it his duty to make use of the time which evidently was 
available to assist this willing penitent in a Confession, which, 
though perhaps not in the opinion of Sophia, but according to the 
requirements of the Sacrament of Penance, would have been a com- 
plete one. 


A penitent confessed: "Many years ago I stole a considerable sum 
of money from a certain man, but some time after I sent it back to 
him through the mail, by ordinary letter. At the particular post office 
from which this letter should have been delivered there occurred 
for quite a vi^hile embezzlements of letters containing money and 
valuables, and this went on at the time I sent my letter. In the 
matter oi my restitution may I let the matter rest, or am I still under 
obligation in this respect?" 

The confessor replied, after some thought, and not without con- 
siderable fear of erring in his judgment, that there was no further 
obligation, because the embezzling of this money need not, and 
could not, be supposed. Since, furthermore, the penitent had acted 
in good faith, there would still less be any reason to impose further 
obligation upon him. What is to be thought of this decision of the 
confessor, and what are the consequences for him? 

(i) Whether this restitution money really reached its rightful 
owner must be considered as very doubtful, in the light of the 
penitent's statement. Since there is, at best, only little (moral) 
guarantee that money entrusted in this manner to tlie mail reaches 
its destination, doubts are all the more justified in our case. What- 
ever theologians say about proceeding in dubio de restitiitione facta, 
it is certain that it is, first of all, the duty (if it is not preferred to 
make the restitution once more without any fuss) to remove the 
doubt as far as possible. The penitent, therefore, should institute 
either himself or through another — the confessor, perhaps — in- 



quiries to ascertain th€ facts, if possible. If he will not, or cannot 
do this, then his responsibility for the sum continues, because the 
certain obligation (to make restitution) is not discharged by un- 
certain fulfilment, especially as it is a matter of a restitutio ex delicto 
dehita, and also because the uncertainty originated from undeniably 
objective, even if subjectively not culpable, negligence of the debtor. 
For, even if he acted in good faith, he has, according to the com- 
ment of St. Alphonsus (/. iii. No. 705) on a similar case, momen- 
tarily preserved his own conscience from sin, but not complied 
with his objective duty. This shows how, and in what respect, the 
confessor has judged wrongly. 

(2) If the confessor's fear of erring was not the result of a 
certain anxiety, which at times may remain even after reason has 
clearly indicated the correct way, but rather resulted from a 
consciousness of doubt as to the right thing to do, it would have been 
his duty either to postpone the decision, or to send the penitent to 
another confessor, or to resort to the other means recommended by 
theologians under such circumstances. If the confessor acted 
though in doubt, he failed also subjectively and failed grievously, 
because it concerned a materia gravis. His fault will be lessened, 
if, as is probable, momentary confusion and concern made calm 
deliberation difficult and interfered with procedure according to the 
rules ; indeed, from this point of view the conditions may even re- 
move all guilt. On the other hand, however, such conditions would 
not excuse if the confessor's anxiety and false decision were due to 
culpable neglect of study. 

(3) Since the confessor, as has been proved, erred in his decision, 
he is obliged to repair the fault as far as he can, according to the 
rules that apply here. It is superfluous to cite these rules here ; but 
a state of affairs which is likely to occur may here be referred to. 


What obligation does this priest incur if the penitent does not 
return, if, moreover, the person to whom restitution is due, and 
also the am.ount of the sum involved, are unknown to him? We 
reply: If the confessor has in his decision not subjectively failed, 
or only in a venial manner, then, according to the general and posi- 
tive teaching of Moralists, he is under no obligation in regard to 
restitution. If, however, he has (subjectively) grievously failed, 
there ensues from the teachings of theologians on iniusta damniUca- 
tio, cooperatio, and incerta dcbita, the following: i. The priest 
is bound to make restitution, and, 2. the restitution is to be made 
paupcribits vel causae piac. Regarding the amount to be thus ex- 
pended we may, on the principle non est imponenda ohligatio, ubi 
de ca non ccrto constat, accept the minimum consistent with a 
materia gravis {considerable stated the accusation). For the sake 
of security, however, and to satisfy the conscience, it would be 
advisable in such a case to have recourse to the Apostolic See 
(Penitentiary) ; Rome's decisions in such things are not only just. 
but lenient as well. 

Ambr. Runggaldier, O.F.M. 




The laborer Stephen, hardly thirty years of age and not married, 
is a consumptive and has spent the last eighteen months in a 
hospital. In his religion he is indifferent, faultfinding, supercilious, 
and sceptical. His morality, especially, is in bad shape, as may be 
gathered from his talk. In the hospital, however, he has been re- 
ceiving the Sacraments every month, not of his own accord, yet 
without remonstrance whenever the sister in charge asked him to 
prepare himself for Confession. The confessor at the hospital, how- 
ever, enjoys not his full confidence, but another, befriended, priest 
has it. To ask for the latter, he fears, would cause comment, and 
hence he omits this until he feels his last hour approaching. Then he 
has this other priest summoned during the night, as he positively de- 
mands to confess to him and to none other. At this last Confession 
he accuses himself of having concealed in previous Confessions a 
grave theft; he is just able to tell how large a sum of money he 
took, and that in more than fifteen Confessions he has not accused 
himself of it, but does not make an attempt to repeat the invalid Con- 
fessions because he is ignorant of this requirement, and under* 
existing conditions this reparation would be too much for his 
strength. He has previously received Extreme Unction, though, 
of course, just as sacrilegiously and invalidly as previous abso- 
lutions and Communions. The question is how this sick man should 
have been treated in his last moments. 

Answer. — He should have been treated in no other manner than 
he was treated by the confessor, to whom he gave his confidence. 



In view of the suffering and anxiety of his last hour, he was left 
in good faith that he need only accuse himself of the theft concealed 
until then; he was not reminded of the obligation to repeat all his 
invalid Confessions ; the confessor, however, recalled to the patient 
briefly some of his sins which had become known to this priest out- 
side of Confession, and directed that he should include in this Con- 
fession all these sins, and also all faults in former Confessions and 
Communions, every thought, word and act against the sixth com- 
mandment, neglect of holy Mass, transgressions of the command- 
ment of fasts and abstinence, etc., and to repent of them sincerely 
and heartily. The priest then recited for him the act of Contrition 
in the form of vigorous ejaculatory prayers, and asked him in con- 
clusion if he really meant that which he had just repeated; if he 
really was sorry for having so often and so grievously offended 
God. Then he inspired the patient with confidence in the merits of 
Jesus Christ, and the mercy of God, gave him absolution, and 
administered holy Communion, but not Extreme Unction. The 
priest acted upon the principle that a more complete Confession was 
under such circumstances too difficult, even impossible, and that on 
account of these circumstances it was advisable not to disturb the 
penitent in his good faith that he need not confess anything more; 
that, indeed, it would be injudicious and dangerous to call the 
patient's attention to the requirements of repeating the invalid Con- 
fessions or even hie et nunc to demand such difficult, indeed im- 
possible, task. Extreme Unction, although unworthily received, 
the priest holds, cannot be repeated in the same danger of death 
brought on by disease, that the Extreme Unction received some days 
ago will now, since the recipient through improved sentiments re- 
moved the obex gratiae, and received absolution, yet produce its 


The principle applied in the matter of the confession is expressed 
m the following quotation from De Lugo {De Sacr. Poen. Disp. i6. 
Sec. 14, n. 594) : "As in the examination of conscience, only 
the deliberation suited to human capability is required, and as 
this deliberation should not be such as to arouse reluctance or 
disgust in regard to this holy Sacrament, it is evident that a less 
intelligible and positive statement may be accepted from a person 
who, in consequence either of illness, or of the multitude of his sins, 
or for some other cause (vel propter incapacitatcrn vel propter 
morbum vel propter peccatorum multitudinem vel aliam oh causam) 
would find it too difficult to prepare an exact statement. A person, 
for instance, who is to confess the sins of a whole life, a life 
passed in sin, would find it extremely difficult to make an ex- 
amination as exact as another may easily make at his monthly 
Confession ; indeed, it would be such a hardship to the former as 
would be likely to render Confession distasteful and obnoxious. 
This is the reason why we require a less precise and exact state- 
ment from public sinners and persons of that kind, than if a person, 
for instance, had only lived in sin for a month, or even less. 

The principle ruling in the matter of Extreme Unction is stated in 
the following: Quaeritur, an istiid sacramentum (extretnae unc- 
tionis) possit esse validiim et informe, ita ut recedente Hctione con- 
ferat suiiin effectum? Respondeo affirmative cum communi Doc- 
torum. Ratio est: quia est sacramentum initerabile, saltern pro certo 
tempore nempe durante eodem morho seu statu morbi, ut supra in 
artic. 3. n. 8. advertimus; adeoque, si sine aliquo defectu substan- 
tiali et cum solo obice sive defectu dispositionis ex parte subjecti 
requisitae fuit receptum, postea vero obex removeatur ponaturquc 
sufficiens dispositio, effectiim siium producit, ne infirmns fructii 
illius totalier privetur. Vide Castropalaum n. 14, Salmanticenses 


qu. 3. Mezger tract. 19. disp. 50. a. 2. n. 4, etc. (Babenstubcr, De 
Extr. Unci. art. 5, n. 5.) But when is there a sufficicns dispositio? 
"Si inHrmus bona fide vel sensibus destitutus sacramentiim recipit in 
mortaii, suificit attritio; si autem mala Me suscepti (as in our case), 
requiritur contritio vel confessio, ad se rite disponendum." (Aertnys, 
Theol. Moral. II. n. 354.) 

Bernard Deppe, 



On page 153 of this volume a case is discussed in which a con- 
fessor under prevailing conditions was considered liable for resti- 
tution. What is to be said if this confessor is a member of a 
religious order ? Does this liability still rest with him ? The answer 
to this question depends upon the rule applying to restitution on part 
of members of religious orders, and this rule may be briefly dis- 
cussed here. We shall have in mind only members of male orders, 
and only such, in fact, who are solemnly professed. It will further 
be premised that it is a matter of restitution for an unjust damage 
occurring after solemn vows have been taken. 

I. Religious orders are in the Church of God, in regard to their 
nature, their interior and exterior work, an institution of such 
prominence that in promoting them there is served a causa pia in 
the best sense of the word. The best possible manner for an in- 
dividual to promote this cause consists, no doubt, in choosing re- 
ligious life for a vocation, devoting to it all the powers of body and 
soul, and by taking perpetual vows to become forever united to the 
Order. Whenever, therefore, the rules about restitution prescribe a 
causa pia, or pauperes, as the recipients of restitution, a religious 
complies to any such obligation perfectly by serving his order faith- 
fully and zealously, and he thus cannot be bound to anything 
further. This the theologians teach in regard to the dehita incerta 
contracta anti ingressum in religionem (professionem), and it would 
hold ex paritate rationis in our case. 

II. The case is different, if restitution is to be made to a certain 
person. By the vow of poverty the religious has renounced all his 



right to any disposition whatsoever about money or possessions. 
Unless in extraordinary cases Papal dispensation, or precept, direct 
otherwise, he is unable of possessing property; anything he may 
have or acquire belongs to the convent, if it be privileged of 
possessing property, or to those who exercise the right of owner- 
ship over the possessions of the convent. Thus, without money and 
property, the religious is not in a position to make restitution ; he is, 
because, and inasmuch as, thus prevented, relieved also of the obli- 
gation. That the convent need not assume any such obligation for 
him is obvious. It must be kept in mind, however, that the obHga- 
tion of restitution is not of itself cancelled by the vow of poverty, 
as some other contract made by a religious may be invalid on 
account of his incapability to make dispositions in matters of pos- 

The obligation of restitution does prevail for the religious, 
and it becomes effective as soon as the obstacles opposing its ful- 
filment disappear, for instance, if through dispensation or seculariza- 
tion, the vow of poverty is wholly or partially abrogated. Further- 
more, a member who has disposition over a peculium, which, with- 
out imposing an uncustomary or unseemly demand upon the convent, 
can be employed for restitution, can hardly escape the obligation. 

III. A few other possible cases may here be mentioned, i. A 
religious, i. e., the convent for this religious, receives by legacy, or 
in a similar way, an amount far surpassing the material benefit 
which the convent renders to this member. Is the convent obliged 
to employ the surplus for a restitution that may be incumbent upon 
this religious? The majority of theologians* answer affirmatively 
if the obligation dates from the time before entry into the order 

*Gury-Ballerini (I, 718) holds the contrary view; but compare Lehmkuhl 
ij^l, 1895) ^"<1 t^he facts there cited in support of his contention. 


(more correctly before solemn profession). Quia bona ilia ad monas- 
terium transeunt cum iUo onere, quod illis annexum fuisset, si in 
dominio religiosi uiausissent (Lehmkuhl I, 1039). Under the con- 
dition premised in our case, that the act involving restitution took 
place after the solemn vows, such an obligation on part of the con- 
vent does not appear to result. Through profession the religious 
transfers all title to property to the convent, forever, in a manner 
valid before God, the Church, and often before secular authorities ; 
this takes place in a perfect manner, if the religious at profession 
is free from debt ; it is not of itself possible to a religious burdened 
with a debt, if profession is not capable of cancelling the claims of a 
third person. Hence, the difference in the two instances. The laws 
of equity frequently impose requirements for which the word of the 
law does not provide. 

2. Is the religious obliged, with the permission of his superior, to 
undertake work by the proceeds of which he will be enabled to make 
restitution? This must ex paritate rafionis be affirmed upon the 
principles above stated, and according to the teaching of theologians 
concerning religious whose debts antedate their entry into the order. 
It is regarded as a matter of course by Suarez (De Virtute et 
Statu Religionis, torn. III. lib. VI. 10, 8). Occupations unusual and 
unbefitting for the calling of a religious are, of course, excluded ;' 
and on this account the question is not of great practical significance 
in our days. 

3. In an order there is a certain number of holy Aiasses placed 
at the disposal of its members, to apply at pleasure. Out of the 
stipends for such Masses a religious may and should make restitu- 
tion; is he then obliged to make efforts to gain stipends? Dis- 
crimination is here in order. If the application of a certain number 
of Masses is placed at the disposal of members for the purpose of 


applying the fruits to relations, friends, etc., then a rehgious is not 
obliged to apply the Masses for earning a stipend, even if the 
superior allows this. For, despite the obligation of restitution, he 
may live according to the aim and purpose which are intended by 
the precepts of his order. 

If, however, the superior by such a privilege wishes to give the 
members an opportunity to obtain some money for individual use, 
a kind of peculium therefore, the solution is more difficult. 

On the one hand there is the obligation of restitution which he 
may discharge without interfering with dignity or rule ; on the 
other hand, the question arises, can the priest be obliged to undertake 
a spiritual act with the purpose of earning by its performance, or 
on the occasion, money? The answer it seems at first sight would 
have to be in the negative, because otherwise there would be obliga- 
tion to an act that manifestly is simony. And yet the priest may, in 
connection with Mass, earn money without committing simony. 
The negative answer seems, nevertheless, to us the more probable ; 
for to say holy Mass in a certain intention, with the sole idea, of 
gaining money is certainly simony ; the acquisition of money there- 
fore cannot be made the reason for undertaking this or any other 
sacred action. 

4. If the religious cannot make material restitution, but can apply 
holy Masses to the injured, thus benefiting him in a spiritual way, 
which the faithful often gladly accept as substitute for temporal 
damage, is he obliged to do so? No, compensating justice does not 
require restitution with goods of another kind, when one cannot 
make restitution with goods of the same kind, at least not without 
the decision of judge or superior. If Miiller, with Cardinal De 
Lugo (11, p. 450), holds, in case restitution by material means 
cannot be made, injungendum tamen erit dehitori, ut saltern pra 


creditore oret vel orari faciat, et oiferri aliqua bona opera, ut 
creditor eo niodo, quo possit, aliquid pro suo debito lucretur, there 
is, as follows from the word injungendum, not reference to obliga- 
tion already present, but of one imposed (by the confessor, perhaps). 
It is only of such an obligation that Kresslinger speaks in Addit. ad 
Theol. Moral a Reiffenstuel exaratam, torn IV. post io6 add. II. 
and Elbel, De Restitutione, conf. 12, 345. La Croix is more exact- 
ing (lib. Ill, p. 2, n. 425). However, the religious serves a causa 
pia (above i), and his labors and merits are of an especial benefit 
to the Church and her faithful, provided he is a faithful member, 
so that there cannot well be question of any further obligation, such 
as offering good works or holy Masses. The confessor, of course, 
will find it advisable under circumstances to impose conditions be- 
yond those that would just comply with the requirement. 

Ambrose Runggaldier, O.F.M. 


A priest is called to a sick person, who, after making Confession, 
receives the Viaticum. The patient immediately shows violent agita- 
tion, pointing his linger to the inside of his mouth. The priest 
looks there, and, to his horror, sees that to the rubber plate in the 
roof of the mouth of the patient the Viaticum sticks like glued. 
It is a well-known fact that it is very difficult even for a person in 
good health to loosen with the tongue the sacred species from such 
a rubber plate, often a moistening with some liquid is required 
to effect detaching. Our patient, in his weakened condition, could 
not use the tongue to loosen the Viaticum from the plate, and the 
priest decided to let a member of the family carefully remove from 
the patient's mouth the plate, which he then immersed in a bowl of 
water, then, after the sacred species had become separated from the 
plate, he washed the plate in the same water, took the entire con- 
tents of the bowl home and put it into the sacrarium, then returned 
to the sick man, and gave him holy Communion once more; the 
sick man, now relieved of the false teeth, swallowed the sacred 
species without difficulty. Did the priest act correctly? 

In the procedure of the priest in this case may be seen his con- 
fusion, and it cannot be recommended for imitation; it was neither 
practical nor correct. It was at all events unnecessary to go home 
and get a new species. He should have saved this trouble, as well 
as the comment which may have been excited by his repeated visit. 
The simplest way would have been to remove the sacred Host by 
means of the finger, or with the aid of a knife, from the plate, to 
place it with a little water in a clean vessel (or spoon) and give 



water and Host at once to the patient to drink. Thereupon he should 
have washed rubber plate, utensil and finger in the same vasculum, 
and this ablutio should also have been given to the patient to drink. 

The proceeding was, moreover, incorrect ; it is not permissible to 
handle the sacred species in the way he did, and to place the same 
immediately in the sacrarium. 

As the decomposition of the sacred species in so short a time 
cannot be supposed, and is at the very least doubtful, he should 
have placed the vasculum in the tabernacle, and only after the 
lapse of at least a few days might have placed the contents in the 

Dr. John Ackerl. 


The Confession of Cajus is being so protracted that bystanders 
must come to the conclusion that he has committed many sins of a 
complicated nature. To save him from this danger to his good 
name the confessor, Father Levis, tells Cajus : "You have now con- 
fessed enough sins ; make the intention that all your other sins be 
included in this Confession, awaken contrition and good resolution, 
and I will now give you absolution, as people may otherwise find 
your long stay here suspicious." What is to be said about this view 
and practise of Father Levis? How should the penitent have been 
dealt with? 

I. Without any doubt whatever Father Levis's views and practise 
are lax, erroneous and detrimental. He imagines, of course, that 
he is taking this course upon a right principle, but he applies the 
same wrongly. It is true that defamation before others, to which 
the material integrity of the Confession would expose a penitent, 
is sufficient reason in order to content one's self, hie et nunc, 
with the required formal integrity, reserving obligation and inten- 
tion to confess later, in the following Confession, any grievous sins 
not now confessed. There is presumed also the necessity not to 
postpone the Confession altogether. {St. Alphonsus Theolog. Mor. 
I. VI. 484, 485.) As an example, let us suppose the case that a sick 
man who has confessed for the reception of holy Viaticum, has made 
a sacrilegious Confession, and then asks the priest who brings the 
holy Viaticum, to hear his Confession once more, intending to make 
this a General Confession, that would take very long. To prevent 



unavoidable injury to the good name of the penitent, the confessor 
should in this case listen to a few sins, and give absolution after 
admonishing the sick man to attend to the completion of his Con- 
fession later on pro posse. 

This correct doctrine and prudent practise Father Levis applies 
in a lax, erroneous, and pernicious way. St. Alphonsus says (J. 
c. n. 595) : Nee exceptio (integritatis materialis) admitti potest, si 
oh prolixitatem confessionis alii facile suspicarentur poenitentem 
multis esse culpis gravatum. 

The opposite view carried out consistently would frustrate to a 
great extent the Divine command of completeness of Confession, for 
the reason especially, that Father Levis neither acknowledged nor 
urged the obligation to make up the deficiency in the following Con- 
fession, and thus just the greatest and most careless of sinners 
would comply least to the Divine command. There would, further- 
more, be no fixed rule at what moment the confessor might stop a 
confession of sins, for the duration of Confessions differs greatly, and 
one cannot say just at what moment a just suspicion of bystanders 
might begin to be excited. Again, such practise would violate 
seriously the most important office of the confessor, the one of phy- 
sician of souls, also of teacher and judge, and often and easily it 
might occur that just such sins would not be confessed on account 
of which the confessor would refuse absolution, or would give it only 
upon certain conditions, or which at least would require earnest ex- 
hortation and advice. Penitents might even with intention reserve 
such sins for the end of their Confession, hoping of being dispensed 
from their mention. Finally, this practise would promote in many 
penitents carelessness in sinning. 

It will, therefore, not be permissible to eliminate for Cajus a 
danger to his good name at the cost of the necessary completeness 


of Confession. But may and should there be no consideration of a 
danger to good reputation under such circumstances? Yes, there 
should be, in as far as the necessary completeness of Confession may 
be preserved ; and this may be done in two ways : either by curtail- 
ing the Confession, on part of penitent and confessor, in all not 
essential things. Or, the Confession might be divided by directing 
the penitent, and stating the reason for it, to retire for a little while 
and then return at a suitable moment, to complete the Confession or 
to receive instructions and advice. Indeed, one might in such case, the 
necessary completeness of Confession presumed, for greater security 
grant absolution immediately, with the intention afterwards, as 
explained, to supplement what the office of physician of souls directs 
in this case, for this is the duty of the confessor no less than solici- 
tude for material completeness of a Confession, and certainly be- 
longs to the salutary completeness of the Sacrament of Penance. 
In conclusion it should be kept in view for the guidance of con- 
fessors that it is, first of all, necessary to do all that which the Sacra- 
ment requires and which is necessary and salutary for the welfare of 
the penitent's soul, and only then discretion and charity, in every- 
thing that will facilitate the reception of the Sacrament of Penance, 
may claim consideration, to avoid and eliminate anything that would 
make it distasteful and difficult. 

J. P. Arnoldi,, C.SS.R. 


(i) Is perfect contrition combined with the resolution to con- 
fess, only in case of necessity a vaHd substitute for the Sacrament 
of Penance? 

(2) Must the resokition to confess, the votum Sacramenti, be 
expressly joined to the act of contrition, to make the contritio efface 
mortal sin? 

(3) Must the resolution to confess, joined to perfect contrition, 
include the intention of one going to Confession as soon as possible f 

Those who have searched theological handbooks and commen- 
taries on the Catechism for information about perfect contrition 
will not have found uniform nor precise and plain answers to 
these three questions. And yet it is obvious that just about these 
three questions there should be no doubt whatsoever. 

Ad. I. It is taught generally that perfect contrition effaces mor- 
tal sin in case of necessity ; i. e., in the case that some one is in the 
danger of death and a priest not there to whom he might confess. 
Is this correct? Is the efficacy of perfect contrition restricted to 
the case of necessity? The Church teaches otherwise. The Coun- 
cil of Trent speaks not of such case of necessity, but teaches 
generally that {sess. XIV., c. 4) the contritio caritate pcrfecta 
reconciles man again with God, priusquam hoc sacramentmn (scil. 
poenitentiae) actu suscipiatur. Therefore, in all cases, whether 
there is danger of death or not, at all times, and in all situations of 
human life, those in mortal sin may regain through perfect con- 
trition the state of grace even before Confession. But how about 
the votum sacramenti, the resolution to confess? 



Ad. 2. The Tridentine teaches (/. c.) that without this votum 
sacramenti the contritio has no such power to efface sin. But does 
the Tridentine require that this votum be expressly made {ex- 
plicite), or is it sufficient if the votum is impHcite included in the 
contrition? According to the literal meaning of the Tridentine the 
latter suffices. Sancta synodus docet . . . ipsam nihilominus 
rcconciliationem ipsi contritioni sine sacramenti voto, quod in ilia 
includitur, non esse adscribendam. To this St. Alphonsus remarks 
in his Theologia M oralis, in Tract, de poenit. cap. i, n. 437, de con- 
frit: quod in alio includitur implicitum est, non expUcitum. That 
a votum confessionis be made expressly and explicite in awakening 
perfect contrition, is, according to the opinion of St. Alphonsus, 
not required for the reason also : quia illi, qui habet notitiam con- 
fessionis, non est nee esse, tit dum conteritur, confessionis recordetur, 
sed suiUcit, ut illam non excludat. 

Every Christian, however, has this notitia confessionis, and per- 
fect contrition, therefore, suffices for the forgiveness of mortal sin, 
even if there is no explicit thought of confessing. Perfect con- 
trition would lose its power of effacing mortal sin only then if the 
sinner had the explicit intention not to confess his sin, but to con- 
tent himself with an act of perfect contrition. For this reason we 
hold with Lehmkuhl (Theol. Mor. torn. II., n. 279) : suiRcit illud 
votum sacramenti, quod eo ipso existit, quod aliquis actum perfectae 
contritionis seu caritatis elicit. And this indicates the answer to 
our third question. 

Ad. 3. We answer in the words of Lehmkuhl, /. c: Votum sac- 
ramenti non necessario continet propositum illud quam primum 
suscipiendi. What does it really mean: to go to Confession as soon 
as possible? Can this not be done almost any day, or at least every 
Saturday or Sunday, by many of those who commit mortal sins? 


Were this propositum required with the act of perfect contrition, then 
notwithstanding perfect contrition many would remain in mortal 
sin, because they do not desire to confess as soon as possible. If 
Lehmkuhl's dictum contains the Church's teaching, then there can 
be no doubt that perfect contrition will efface the mortal sins 
even of a Christian who confesses only once a year, in compliance 
with the ecclesiastical precept, even though he may commit these 
sins almost a year before Confession, but is resolved to confess 
these sins when going to Confession next Easter time. It will not 
do, therefore, to tell people that they must go to Confession imme- 
diately upon committing mortal sin, it will be more correct to tell 
them, in sermons and instructions, that if someone has committed 
mortal sin, he should not hesitate to awaken perfect contrition, and 
through perfect contrition he will regain the state of grace ; that 
it will be necessary, nevertheless, to confess this sin when next 
going to Confession. This is ecclesiastically correct and it suffices 
for the Christian who has had the misfortune to sin grievously. 
Nor is it particularly difficult for a well-disposed Christian, who 
prays for this grace, to make an act of perfect contrition. 

Whether, notwithstanding all this, an early Confession should 
not be advised, after mortal sin has been committed, is quite another 
matter. In praxi the priest will often have to advise early Con- 
fession, because one or the other may not be capable of a contritio 
and may content himself with an attritio, which only cleanses from 
grievous sins in connection with absolution. 

Dr. Spath. 


The questions are asked : ( i ) Is a newly ordained priest allowed 
to take for his first Mass a votive office (with corresponding color) 
if his first Mass is celebrated on a Sunday per annum, on which 
the office is de ea and the green color is prescribed? Or must he 
take the Mass of the day, with vestments of green color, or, if such 
are not available for those assisting, vestments of gold cloth? (2) 
If a votive Mass is allowable, which one should the newly ordained 
priest choose? 

Ad. I. A first Mass is not privileged as regards the office 
or the rite. It oflFers no sufficient reason for the celebration of a 
Missa votiva solemnis {pro re gravi, vel publica ecclesiae cansa), 
which would even require assignment or permission by the bishop 
in the individual case. The newly ordained may, therefore, take 
a votive only on a day which admits of a Missa votiva privata, for 
which the celebration of a first Mass would be a rationabilis causa. 
In this case, however, the ritus Missae votivae privatae must be 
completely employed, whether the Mass be read or sung, and 
whether celebrated with or without assistance, therefore sine Gloria 
(unless the votive Mass as such has it, as S. Maria in Sahh., Ss. 
Angeli), sine Credo, cum tribus saltern Orationibus, and the chant 
in tono Missae ferialis, which for a solemn first Mass cum magno 
apparatu et concursu populi would hardly be desirable. The color 
of the vestments must, of course, correspond to the Mass sive de 
die sive votivae. It is regarded as permissible to take vestments of 
gold cloth, in place of white, red or green, ex auro contexta, but on 



no account ex tela serica aut alia iiavi colons materia confecta {Cf. 
de Herdt, S. Liturg. Praxis, torn. L, n. 147). 

This decides the first question, and under all circumstances the 
newly ordained has to take the Missa de Dominica occurenti, with 
all orations prescribed by rubrics and ordinary; if the ordo permits 
3. Oratio ad lihitum; then the Oratio pro seipso Sacerdote (n. 20, 
inter Orationes diversas) recommends itself for use. The vest- 
ments should be of green color, but may be replaced by such of 
gold cloth (ex auro contexta). 

Ad. 2. This question is therefore dropped in our case. If, however, 
a newly ordained priest celebrates first Mass on a day that permits of 
a Missa Votiva privata, and he would say a votive Mass (at all 
events ritu Missae votivae privatae) rather than the Mass of the 
day, then he has the choice of any votive Mass. To be recom- 
mended in such case are the Missa de Ss. Trinitate, addita Oratione 
Dens cnjiis misericordiae, or, de Spiritu St., or, de S. S. Corde 
Jesus, or^ de B. Maria V. 

The newly ordained priest will, however, do best to begin with 
his first holy Mass a strict adherence to the ecclesiastical precepts 
respecting the office of the day, and avoid everything unusual. 

Prof. Joseph Kobler. 


According- to the decision of the holy Penitentiary of November 
7, 1888 {ad. VII.), a confessor who, as missionary, for instance, 
has not the opportunity of again meeting a certain penitent who 
has fallen under one of the censures reserved to the Pope, may 
exact the penitent's promise to write to Rome himself. Already 
prior to this the holy Penitentiary had decreed "a penitent is not 
required to have recourse through the confessor who absolved him 
from the censure, but may comply with this obligation through 
another confessor, or, for important and sufficient reason, may 
write himself to Rome under a fictitious name" (May 28, 1888). 

The decisions are plain. Is therewith every practical difficulty 
removed ? It appears to us that a difficulty of a particular kind still 
remains. The penitent, after having confessed to a strange con- 
fessor, must present himself subsequently again to his regular con- 
fessor, or at least to a priest who knows him. Possibly this peni- 
tent had been culpably silent about that sin in previous Confes- 
sions, until at last an opportunity presented itself to confess it to a 
strange priest. How happy he is to receive at last absolution ! But 
within a month's time he has to write to Rome, and to whom may 
he intrust the answer, since the priest to whom he opened his heart, 
through whom he obtained forgiveness of his sins, will depart from 
the place the very next day ? The answer of the Sacred Penitentiary 
will, as customary, bear the subscription : Dilecto in Christo confes- 
sario ah orator e electo vel eligendo, etc. There is yet another hitch. 
If the penitent writes under an assumed name, how will the answer 



reach him? The penitent in his letter must speak of himself as a 

third person: "Titius, fallen under the censure of has been 

absolved on condition of writing to Rome within a month." An- 
other permissible way to apply to Rome under assumed name is, as 
the Sacred Penitentiary has explained, to let the strange priest make 
the application, the penitent to make known to him his address. But 
is it not embarrassing for the penitent to give his address to the 
confessor and does not the difficulty remain, the solution of which 
is here attempted, inasmuch as the answer is almost always to be 
communicated in the actus sacramentalis confessionis? 

There is only one means of removing this difficulty, and that is to 
have the Sacred Penitentiary give the answer in forma gratiosa, and 
not, as usually, in forma commissaria; i. e., to have it prescribe what 
is necessary, instead of granting to a confessor the power to pre- 
scribe this. Instead of writing : Sacra Poenitentiaria — facultatem 
concedit dispensandi — absolvendi — prorogandi — it writes : dispen- 
sat, ahsolvit, prorogat. That this is feasible there can be no doubt. 
Absolution from censures may be given to one absent and in writ- 
ing, and the enumeration of obligations to be fulfilled (to render 
satisfaction to the injured party, to burn the books of the sect, to 
inform the complex of the invalidity of absolutions given, etc.) 
makes in writing a much deeper impression. There are known to 
us several cases in which the Sacred Penitentiary has answered in 
forma gratiosa. Thus once prorogando sacerdoti alicui jus ad re- 
tinendum oMcium confessarii. Though the confessor had applied, 
he submitted certain circumstances which made an answer in forma 
gratiosa desirable. The answer came to this confessor who, by 
arrangement with the penitent, forwarded it to him through a 
third person without knowing his name. In another case a peni- 
tent himself obtained a rescript of this kind. 


It is better, in general, to let the confessor write to the Sacred 
Penitentiary. The latter prefers to address its instructions to him. 
If, however, the confessor either cannot, or will not, write, or if 
there are other important reasons, the penitent may himself apply to 
Rome. Just in which cases he may receive an answer in forma 
gratiosa is a matter for the decision of the Sacred Penitentiary. At 
any event, he will not receive the answer in this form unless he 
specially petitions for it and states his reasons. 

Augustine Arndt, S.J. 


A physician confesses that he has frequently resorted to crani- 
otomy to save the Hfe of a mother. He adds that in his previous 
Confession he had been warned that craniotomy is prohibited un- 
der penalty of excommunication, but that he could not see its unlaw- 
fulness in case of necessity. How is this physician to be dealt with ? 

Whereas formerly some theologians, such as Ballerini and Avan- 
zini, held that in a case of utmost necessity craniotomy might be 
allowed, this view has now, after repeated decisions of the Holy 
Office, been discarded. As early as May 28, 1884, the Holy Office 
answered to a query of Archbishop Caverot, of Lyons, with the 
direction : Tuto doceri non posse in scholis catholicis, licitam esse 
operationem chirurgicam quam Craniotomiam appellant. This de- 
cision created a great stir and much theological dispute. It was 
asserted that, craniotomy being a dangerous thing, Rome had in- 
tended in this decision to discourage the view that this operation 
were generally permitted, and that its abuse was chiefly aimed at 
by the prohibition. Especially was this view held by some profes- 
sors at the University of Lille. The Archbishop of Cambrai, within 
whose jurisdiction this university is situated, therefore, proceeded 
to submit the details of six different cases of craniotomy to the Con- 
gregation and requested it to pass upon them. The six cases* were 
supposed to include the whole variety of conditions likely to occur 
in such instances. It took the Holy Office three years to give its 
answer, which, at last, on August 19, 1889, came in the following 

*Stated in full in Eschbach's Disputationes Phys. TheoL, ed. alt. pp. 464-467. 



terms : In scholis catholicis tuto doceri non posse licitam esse 
operationem chirurgicam quam Craniotomiam appellant, sicut decla- 
ratium fiiit 29 Mali, 1884, ct quamcumque chirurgicam operationem 
directe occisivam foetus vcl matris gestantis. This disposed finally 
of craniotomy as also of similar operations that destroy the life of 
the fetus, such as Cephalotripsia, Emhryotomia, Decollatio, Ex~ 
enteratio, Emhryothlasia, etc. Although both answers were worded 
Tuto doceri non posse, this expression may not be construed so as 
to mean that, while its lawfulness cannot be taught, yet in single 
cases there may be justification. The term, Tuto doceri non posse, 
means in the language of the Congregation that the matter is finally 
and entirely condemned.* Hence, all theologians of the present time 
put the ban upon craniotomy. A physician, unless exonerated by 
conscientia erronea, commits, without doubt, a grave sin if he per- 
forms craniotomy or a similar operation. But does such a physician 
fall under the censure reserved to the bishop, if he was aware of 
the excommunication proclaimed against the procurantes abortum 
effectu secuto? Theologians differ in this matter. Some, as, for 
instance, Berrardi {Praxis Cojifess. IV., n. 1094), Haine {Element. 
Theol. Mor., ed. 4, IV., p. 476), Genicot {Theol. Mor., ed. 5, 
//. 608) and others hold that craniotomy and kindred practises. 
while direct murder of the child, are in reality neither the procura- 
tion of premature birth nor abortion. Thus Haine: neque hue {ad 
abortum) pertinet craniotomia seu embriotomia: quia diffcrt ab 
abortu nednm in terminis, ut per se liquet, set etiam re, cum non sit 
ejecto foetus, sed potius oc occisio foetus, quam consequitur cadaveris 
ejectio. Aliunde in poenalibus non valet argumentum a pari, nee 
imo a fortiori. Nevertheless, the majority of theologians teach that 

♦Compare the answer of Cardinal Patrizzi in Eschbach, I. c, p. 462. 


craniotomy, and similar destroying operations, fall under the cen- 
sure. A physician performing craniotomy kills the child no less 
than the one who produces abortion. Keeping in mind the aim of 
the prohibition of abortion: protection of the child life, it must be 
admitted that the same aim would demand the prohibition of cranio- 
tomy. Indeed, the physical action is much the same in both pro- 
ceedings. Notwithstanding all this we are inclined to take the 
milder view of Haine, Berrardi and Genicot, for the following rea- 
sons : ( I ) Excommunication is obviously a poena, an odiosum. 
Here applies the principle : In odiosis quod minimum est, tenentum 
est, and, odiosa sunt restringenda. Whatever does not with abso- 
lute certainty fall under the excommunication must be regarded as 
(ecclesiastically) not liable to the punishment. Strictly speaking, 
however, the definition of abortion violenta et culpahilis ejcctio 
foetus immaturi ex utero materno, does not apply to craniotomy. 
For, in case of the latter, there is the mature fruit. (2) A rigidly 
formal interpretation of censures is customary also in the case in 
other matters. For instance, while the perusal of heretical books 
falls under the penalty of excommunication, it is the general opinion 
that this penalty is not incurred by those who make others read 
such books aloud to them. It cannot be claimed that there is any 
great distinction between reading such books and listening to some 
one else reading them. With the same right it might be said that 
procuratio abortus incurs the censure, but not craniotomy. (3) Since 
the issue of the bull Apostolicae Sedis there has been a marked 
tendency by ecclesiastical legislature to lessen censures and to facili- 
tate absolution. It is very likely that the pending codification of 
Canon Law will work further in this direction. On the strength of 
these three reasons the view of the authors cited above should be 
supported. Hence, every confessor may {de jure communi) absolve 


a physician who accuses himself of having performed craniotomy. It 
is understood, of course, that the physician positively promises to 
omit such operations in the future. If the physician is still hona 
fide in regard to craniotomy, the confessor should be careful not to 
disturb this bona fides, because by such course there is usually noth- 
ing gained, and very likely much lost. In this respect we agree with 
Noldin, who states {Sum. Theol. Mor. II., n. 333, ed. 6a.), Cum 
tamen demonstratio , qua ex principiis nahiralibus craniotomia osten- 
ditur illicita, non sit adeo plana atque evidens, facile fieri potest, ut 
medici hona fide eam exerceant. Idea caveat confessarius, nisi 
expresse de hac re interrogetur, ne eorum hona/yn fidem perturbet. 

Dr. Prummer, O.Pr, 


Sempronius, a man in comfortable circumstances, and regular 
in the performance of his religious duties, made, while still 
in the best of health, his will, which contained, amongst other 
things, the provision that after his death a number of Masses should 
be said annually in his parish church for the peace of his soul, a 
considerable sum being set aside for this purpose. After drawing 
his will, Sempronius lived his usual life for several years in the 
best of health, when suddenly the community was shocked by the 
news that Sempronius had committed suicide. The validity of the 
suicide's will was not disputed in any way, and the heirs sought to ex- 
ecute also the bequest for the foundation of Masses for the departed. 
The question is asked : Can this legacy for Masses for the repose of 
the soul of a suicide be accepted and carried out by the Church? 

The suicide's pastor, to whom the heirs applied in this matter, was 
not a little surprised, as may be imagined, at the suggestion, but 
after some reflection he arrived at the following conclusions: (i) 
It appeared to him that the bequest of Sempronius should be ac- 
cepted and the Masses said, because it was the deceased's expressed 
desire, and, because now unalterable and sacred, ought to be carried 
out. It seemed to him that ecclesiastical, as well as State, laws 
were in favor of this view. In a decree of Pope Gregory IX. 
bishops are enjoined to take particular care that executors of a will 
proceed in all things according to the intention of the testator,* 
and to carry out carefully all his directions. 

*According to the explanation of Canonists the last will is called testa- 
mentum quia testaiio mentis est. 



The decree* orders cum in omnibus pUs voluntatibus sit per 
episcopos locorum providendum, ut secundum defuncti voluntatem 
universa procedant, mandamus, quatenus executor es testamentorum, 
hujiismodi, ut bona ipsa Udeliter et plenarie in usus praedictos (usus 
pios) expendant, monitione praevia compellas. 

(2) This view the pastor was inclined to take also for the reason 
that the validity of the will had been established beyond question. 
The executors in urging the carrying out the bequest for Masses 
acted in perfect accord with both ecclesiastical and State law. Ex- 
ecutores ultimae voluntatis, thus ordains the Pope named,t post 
mandatum susceptum per diocesanum episcopum cogi debent, 
testatoris explere ultimam voluntatem. 

(3) In this opinion the pastor is supported by ecclesiastical de- 
crees according to which even verbal bequests are to be strictly 
carried out, and which threaten with excommunication those who 
omit to execute bequests for pious purposes. Gregory IX. $ or- 
dained Cognovimus quod moriens uxor . . . nudis verbis 
scutellam argenteam cuidam monasterio reliquerit. In quibus volun- 
tatem ejus z'olumus adimpleri, and the Synod of Mayence§ pre- 
scribed Si haeredes jussa testatoris non adimpleverint, ah episcopo 
loci illius omnis res, quae eis relicta est, canonice interdicatiir, ut 
vota defuncti adimpleantur. 

(4) The pastor realized that the bequest of Sempronius, in view 
of his subsequent suicide, was something quite extraordinary, and 
that the carrying out of the same would in all probability be op- 
posed by considerable difficulties, yet he decided in favor of its 

*Cap. XII. (lib. 3- tit. 76). 
tCap. XIX., I. c. 
tCap. IV., 1. c. 
%Cap. VI., I. c. 


validity on the principle : In dubio standum est pro valore actus, and 
on the strength of the law which says : Tenet pro reo, non pro 
adore senfentia nisi in causa favorahili, puta (in) matrimonio 
lihertate, dote seu testamento. 

(5) The pastor, finally, believed to find support of his view in the 
decree of Alexander III. {Cap. 26, .r lib. 2, tit. 28), according- to 
which bequests for pious purposes, may be considered as valid, even 
though their form would not be recognized under civil law, because 
the strict requirements of the profane law are not considered to 
govern such bequests. Mandamus, states the Pope (Cfr. Ferraris, 

I. c, Art. II., cum. 5, et seqq.), quatenus aliqua causa talis ad ves- 
truni fuerit e.vamen deducta, earn non secundum leges (sc. civiles), 
sed secundum dccretorum statuta (i. e., leges ecclesiastic as) tractetis 
tribus aut duobus tcstibus legitimis requisitis.'^ 

The Rota gave decisions in the same sense under date of March 

II, 1689, and of June 23, 1704. Hence some of our best authorities 
in Canon Law (for instance, Fagnanus, Reiffenstuel, Pirhing, 
Engel, etc. {Cfr. Ferraris, I. c, num. 6, et seqq.) hold that bequests 
for pious purposes {ad pias causas) enjoy special privileges, not 
merely pro foro interna, but also pro foro externa. 

On the other hand, the pastor was mindful of the manner of Sem- 
pronius' death, and he realized that the accepting of this legacy 
for Masses would cause considerable misgivings in the congregation, 
and that the people would be scandalized at seeing Masses said for 
a suicide. For this reason it seemed to him, after all, more probable 
that Sempronius' legacy for Masses could not be accepted. In this 
predicament he decided to submit the matter for decision to his 

*It is to be mentioned that the matter is judged here from th« viewpoint 
of ecclesiastical legislation. 


In order to solve the question properly it must be ascertained 
(i) whether Sempronius was in sane mind to the end, and, also, 
whether he desired the Masses said only for himself; (2) whether 
it was his intention that the Masses be said for himself and for his 

Ad. I. If this is the case the legacy for Masses cannot be ac- 
cepted, nor can Masses be said. A decree of Pope Gregory II. 
{cap. 21, c. 13, yti. II; cf. cap. 13, /. c.) expressly state that only 
for pious Qiristians, who reconciled with God departed this life in 
the state of grace, but not for the impious, can prayers be offered 
after their death.* That Sempronius, who ex hypothesi voluntarily 
took his life, cannot be numbered among the former may be sup- 
posed with certainty. 

The Pope states : Sancta sic tenet ecclesia iit qidsqiie pro suis 
vere Christianis offerat oblationes atque presbyter eorum memoriam 
faciat; atque quamvis omnes peccatis suhjaceamus, congruit, ut 
sacerdos pro mortids catholicis memoriam faciat et intercedat; non 
tamen pro impiis (quamvis Christiani fuerint) tale quid agere licebit. 

If then not even public prayers may be offered for such departed, 
still less can the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the supreme prayer, be 
offered for them. The bequest of Sempronius seems, for this rea- 
son, invalid and the Church cannot accept it. 

According to the teaching of the Catholic Church, the sacrifice 
of the Mass can only be offered up for her faithful children and 
living members, and Sempronius through his own act voluntarily 
departed from their ranks. Tantum abest, thus teaches the Coun- 
cil of Trent,t ut cruentae oblationi Christi per oblationem incruen- 

*Hence, the priest pray in the Memento pro defunctis: Qui nos pratcts- 
serunt cum signo tidei et dormiuni in somno pacts. 
^Trid. sers. 22, cap. 2; cf. sen. 25, decret. de purgatorio. 


tarn quovis modo derogetur. Quare non solum pro Udelium vivorum 
peccatis . . . sed etiam pro defiinctis in Christo, nonduin plene 
purgatis, rite juxta apostolorum traditionem offertur. 

As it cannot be held of Sempronius that he departed this life in 
the peace of the Lord, the Church, by accepting bequests for Masses 
to be said for him, would act contrary to her own teaching which, 
of course, is not to be thought of. 

Moreover, the intercession of the Church would not avail Sem- 
pronius. If he culpably put a violent end to his life, he died in 
grievous sin, and not in the state of grace.* Hence, St. Augustine 
writes (Euch. c. 109, et no; cf. cap. xxiii, I. c.) : Sed haec {missae 
sacrificia et elcomosynae) mortus prosunt (tunc), qui cum viverent, 
ut haec sibi postea possent prodesse, meruerunt . . . Sacrificia 
altaris pro non valde malis propitiationes sunt, pro valde malis nulla 
stmt adjumenta mortuorum. 

The well-known axiom of this Father of the Church, Quis potest 
scire (whether such an unfortunate in the last moments of his life 
did sincerely repent of his act, and found favor with God), is not to 
be considered in the application of the law, because decision must 
be based upon the known premises. 

This follows, finally, from the precepts of the Church, by which 
those who in a sane state take their own lives are to be refused 
Christian burial. The Roman Ritual (Rit. rom. dc Excquiis) pre- 
scribes : Negatur ccclesiastica sepultura seipsos occidentibus ob 
desperationem vel iracundiam, non tamen si ex insania id accidat, 
nisi ante mortem dederint signa poenitentiae. 

The Congregation of the Holy Office prohibits this even more 
emphatically in the words {Die. 16, Mai., 1866) : Quando certo con- 

*Cf. Eccl. xi, 3; Matt, v, 1^. 


Stat vel de iracundia vel de desperatione, negari debet ecclesiastica 
sepultiira ct vitari detent pompae et solemnitates exequiarum. If 
then such persons are refused Christian burial, it is not possible 
without contradiction to accept, or say, Masses for them. Otherwise 
the Church would, on the one hand, censure such a departed by de- 
priving him of Christian burial, while by accepting and executing 
a bequest of Masses, she would exonerate Sempronius from culpa- 
bility: he would be considered unworthy of Christian burial: but 
worthy of the honor, the greatest grace, of having the holy Sacrifice 
oflfered for him. On the one hand, the Church would put her ban 
on the crime of suicide by refusing burial, upon the other, she 
would, by the execution of such a bequest for Masses, paralyze 
her ban, and confound the faithful in their religious sentiments and 
convictions. St. Ambrose (De OMc, lib. 11. , c. 28) says rightly in 
this respect : In sepulturis Christian or iim reqnies defunctorum est. 

Ad. II. Did Sempronius intend, however, that the foundation of 
Masses should be executed not only for him, but at the same time 
for his departed relatives, the bequest may be carried out in the only 
manner in which it can be carried out. Since, as shown above, 
Masses for Sempronius cannot be said, the Masses thus founded 
would be offered for his departed relatives, and the fruits of the 
holy Masses, to which, by the wording of the testament, they were 
entitled, would not be lost to them. 

It cannot be objected that such an execution of the bequest would 
be incomplete, and, therefore, illegal. We have shown that the 
bequest, in so far as it concerned the testator, cannot be executed. 
This fact will not invalidate the other lawful stipulations and they 
must be executed by establishing a foundation of Masses for the de- 
parted relatives of the testator, so that their claims, established by 
Sempronius, will not be frustrated. The testator cannot profit by 

i88 THE CASUIST— VOL. lit 

his bequest in consequence of his detestable act, yet his departed 
relatives must not be deprived of the advantage intended for them, 
and this part of the testament should be fulfilled according to the 
will of the testator. 

Nor can it be objected that with the invalidation of one pro- 
vision of the testament, the others become eo ipso invalid. This 
would only be the case, if it could be proved that both stipulations 
of the testament were inseparably connected with one another. It 
follows that the bequest, in so far as it concerns the departed rela- 
tives of Sempronius, can be executed without the least scruple. In 
regard to this rather delicate question Ferraris teaches {Anniversa- 
riitm, num. 15) that in such a case the will only in as far as it con- 
cerns the testator, not, however, in so far as it concerns his de- 
parted relatives, is ineffective because the stipulations in the testa- 
ment regarding the latter have the same force as those which refer 
to the testator. Si anniversarium, so writes this author, ordinatum 
fuerit a tcstatore pro sua anima et pro animahus suorum, non cessat 
testamentum (sc. in casu suicidii volnniarii) ; quia, licet tale anniver- 
sarium non possit consequi effectiim in favorem testatons {sui- 
cidae), potest tamen consequi effectum in favorem aliorum {consan- 
guineorum). . . . In hac enim dispositione aeque principality^ 
veniunt suffragia pro ammabus suorum ac pro anijna sua. 

Can the executor of the estate claim that the bishop is obliged to 
accept the bequest for Masses in the intention of Sempronius, and 
that for this reason it must be executed in accordance with his in- 
tention? Not at all. The bishop is strictly bound by the above- 
quoted Church laws. Furthermore, without his consent, and this 
is to be remembered in the question before us, no foundation of 
Masses can be made, as is confirmed by the quoted decisions of 
the ecclesiastical law {Cfr. cap. 3, 6, 17; lib. 3, tit, 26) and by 


general ecclesiastical usage. The decision of the Council of 
Trent* regarding the execution of pious bequests through the 
bishop of the diocese, reads : Episcopi etiam tamquam sedis aposto- 
Ucae delegati in casibus a jure concessis omnium piarum disposi- 
tionum, tarn in ultima voluntate, quam inter vivos, sint executores. 

This decree obviously presumes that bequests must be accepted 
and approved by the bishop, and this again presumes that the 
bishops have the right to decide whether a legacy for Masses can 
be accepted and executed. For, as Craisson saysf very appropriately, 
nan est verosimile, quod episcopi tarn stride alligarentur sola 
{ultima) voluntate siihditorum a seipsis non approhata. 

So important an institution, for the individual as well as for the 
Church, as without doubt the foundation of Masses is, requires con- 
tinual and rigid supervision, as otherwise it may easily be abused, 
and untoward things may happen. For this reason the authorities 
teach :% Rectus postulat ordo et regidae canonicae vetant, ne funda- 
tiones acceptentur absque pracvio assensu episcopi. 

If, therefore, the bishop has the right to accept and sanction foun- 
dation of Masses, he has also the right to refuse legacies for 
Masses, either wholly or — as in our case — in part, inasmuch as he 
cannot approve of a foundation which would be in contradiction to 
doctrine and law.§ Otherwise the right of the ecclesiastical superior 
would depend upon the will of the individual testator, and hence 

*Trid. sess. 22, cap. 8, de ref. 

■\Manuale tot. juris can. 

XPraelectiones juris can. 

§It is to be remembered that such bequests often contain strange stipula- 
tions. If the foundations thus provided for should be realized, bequests 
for Masses and wishes of testators must frequently be subjected to thorough 
revision. Not infrequently such stipulations have to be cancelled altogether, 
without any objection from the executors of the will. 


be illusory — which is against the plain provisions of the law — 
and the Church would often be brought into contradiction with her 
canons, as well as with the lawful demands of the faithful. 

It must not be overlooked, finally, that a bequest for Mass foun- 
dations and its acceptance by the bishop has the character of a con- 
tract. To conclude a contract, especially a contractus onerosus, the 
consent of both contracting parties is required. 

Contractus — thus the 85 regula juris — ex conventione (agree- 
ment, consent) legem accipere dignoscuntur. Every obligation pre- 
supposes the voluntary consent to assume the same. Consequently, 
it depends upon the consent of the Church, whether she will receive 
a legacy or not. The Church can manifestly only accept a legacy 
that is legally and morally acceptable, which can not be claimed for 
this bequest of a suicide. 

This is evident also from the decision of the Council of Trent, 
according to which the bishops in regard to Mass foundations — if, 
for instance, their number is too large in a church and the stipend 
insufficient — may make disposition as they consider right and prac- 
tical, and under certain conditions they may even reduce such Mass 
foundations. If they can do this, then a potiori they can alter Mass 
bequests, or refuse them altogether, if they consider their execu- 
tion impossible or not practicable. Hence, prominent theologians 
hold that the bishop may issue an individual statute for his diocese 
and decide the conditions under which a Mass bequest may be ac- 
cepted and executed (Praelectiones juris can. I. c, p. 511). 

It is evident that the bequest of Sempronius may be ac- 
cepted, and the Masses said, if it is proved that he was in unsound 
mind when he sought death by his own hand. For reasons of 
prudence a Mass thus founded should either not be published at all 
from the pulpit, or only after a sufficient lapse of time. The Con- 


gregation of the Holy Office gave in regard to the burial of such 
persons the following decision : Quando certo constat de insania 
{suicidae) , datur eccksiastica sepultura cum solemnitatihus exequia- 
rum. If in such case a solemn funeral is allowed, the essential 
element being the offering of the holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the 
departed, it is plain that for such a person also anniversary and other 
Masses may be accepted and said. 

Dr. Anton Brychta. 


A pilgrim to Rome had a small cross blessed by the Holy Father 
and endowed with the indulgence toties quoties for the dying. Upon 
his return home, he removed from the crucifix the body, had it 
silver-plated, replaced it and presented it to a friend. Subsequently 
he inquired of a priest whether the great indulgences were still at- 
tached to the cross? What answer should he receive? 

The pilgrim should be told that the great indulgences (excepting 
the case stated below) are surely still attached to the Cross. Two 
reasons may cause a doubt: (i) because the pilgrim removed the 
body from the Cross ; (2) because he had it silver-plated. Both 
things may be done without interference with the indulgence. The 
first did no harm, because in the case of crucifixes the blessing 
is bestowed upon the image of Christ, so that this, without losing 
the indulgences, can even be attached to another cross of any ma- 
terial whatsoever (S. C. Ind. ; April ii, 1850). 

Neither is the silver-plating of any consequence, as is clear from 
the generally accepted rule about blessed articles. Indulgences 
cease on account of change of material of the blessed object only in 
case the change is an essential one (Beringer, Indulgences, p. 340, 
10th edition). An alteration is, in the unanimous opinion of theo- 
logians, essential when the added material, in comparison to the ma- 
terial of which the blessed article consisted, is of the same or 
greater quantity, because in any other case it may truthfully be said 
that the article consists morally of the same material as before. 
Without doubt this is so in the case of silver-plating, in which the 
thin silver coating is generally far less in quantity than the material 



of the blessed article, so that the latter, even after the plating, in 
a moral sense remains the same as in form so in material. 

We said generally: for if in our case a heavy silver-plating of 
the crucifix should have brought about that the silver covering ex- 
ceeded in quantity the material of the image of Christ, or equalled 
it, then, according to the stated rule, the indulgences are no longer 
on the Cross. 

That, with exception of this case, the blessing and indulgence 
continue, follows from the rubrics about analogous blessings of 
churches and articles of divine worship. It is quite certain that a 
church building does not forfeit its blessing by being white-washed, 
or even if given a substantial coating, with marble plates, etc. 

It is true that a chalice after being regilt inside must be reconse- 
crated, and from this it would seem to follow that in our case the 
blessing would have to be repeated. This is not the fact, for several 
reasons. Our case is one of simple blessing, while the chalice is con- 
secrated by blessing and anointing, and, furthermore, the reason of 
the precept to rebless a chalice after regilding is not the view that the 
blessing of the chalice had been lost through regilding, or because 
the plating per adjunctionem non fit sacra, as both would be in 
opposition to the teaching on the subject of blessings: but quia 
calix con^ecratur propter contactum sanguinis Christi, unde quando 
illius superficies non est consecrata, necessario requiritur, ut calix 
de novo consecretur. Apud. S. Alphonsum- i. V. n. 370 dub. 2. 

For this reason an exterior regilding of the Cuppa of the chalice 
may evidently take place without interfering with the blessing. 


With considerable anxiety Father Cajus enters for the first time 
the confessional. His first penitent is an aged lady, who, amongst 
other things, accuses herself of not having kept the prescribed fast 
days. After listening to her Confession, Cajus, as in duty bound, 
puts some necessary questions, but he receives either a wrong an- 
swer or no answer at all. It becomes evident to the young priest 
that he has before him a person hard of hearing. Father Cajus is 
perplexed, but after some hesitation, he decides to unconditionally 
absolve the penitent, who, it appears to him, is well disposed ; fur- 
thermore, he imposes a very trifling penance, because he cannot 
speak to the penitent without being heard and understood by others. 
The question is. Did Cajus act rightly or not? 

Cajus acted quite correctly, as he only became aware of the peni- 
tent's deafness after the confession of sins, and for this reason was 
unable to take his penitent to another place, or bid her to return at 
a later hour, without causing others to suspect a grievous matter 
about which they would think the confessor wanted to inquire more 
thoroughly. For this reason also Cajus very properly imposed 
merely a small penance. The justification of this procedure is found 
in the solicitous concern not to violate the seal of Confession. The 
material completeness of the Confession must here give way to the 
r^ard for the seal of Confession. Formal completeness of the Con- 
fession suffices here because material completeness is morally im- 

The confessor would have been obliged to proceed diflFerently 



had he noticed the defect before her confession of sins, or had he 
known from experience that he had before him a deaf person. In 
such a case he would either appoint another time for her to come to 
Confession, or seek an appropriate place, where he could ask the 
necessary questions, unless, indeed, in the case of females, prudence 
and regard for good repute made it advisable to be satisfied even 
in this case with the formal completeness of the confession of sins 
(Cf. S. Alphonsus, Praxis Confessarii, 104; Lehmkuhl, Theolo- 
gia Moralis, edit. VI., torn. 2, 328). 

Dr. John Doller. 


Titus makes his Confession to the priest Sempronius, and con- 
cludes with the words : I should also mention that in the last Con- 
fession, on account of a hurried preparation, I quite forgot to 
awaken contrition, I consoled myself, however, with the assurance a 
former confessor gave me in a similar case, when he said that I 
need not mind the omission, because the fact that I go to Confes- 
sion proves contrition. I shall make it a strict rule hereafter, never- 
theless, to make after every Confession an act of contrition in ad- 
vance for the next Confession, so that this matter will be attended to 
without fail. What will Father Sempronius say to this? 

Anszuer. — The present case proposes three questions: (i) Is it 
true that people go to Confession only because they feel contrition 
for their sins? (2) Is contrition absolutely necessary for the for- 
giveness of sins? (3) Does an act of contrition, awakened imme- 
diately after a Confession in advance for the next Confession suffice 
in every case for the validity of the Sacrament? To the first ques- 
tion we must answer no, as reason and experience dictate. It is to. 
be supposed that, like every other sacred matter, and like every Sac- 
rament, so the Sacrament of Penance is misused by many. This mis- 
use may consist in a culpable lack of the most essential requisite for 
the Sacrament on part of the receiver, the lack, namely, of a real, 
supernatural, all surpassing contrition, embracing all sins. Experi- 
ence confirms this fact only too often. Many go to Confession solely 
because their usual time has arrived and not on account of a con- 
sciousness of sinfulness, not because they feel the need of concilia- 



tion with an offended God ; they give no thought to that. Many 
again take as little trouble as possible about Confession, they confess 
such of their sins as they happen to think of in a hasty preparation, 
recite superficially the customary formula of contrition, without 
reflection. Some persons go to Confession in a mood of dejected- 
ness caused by purely worldly reasons. There are others again who 
go for various reasons, among which the love of God, or contrition, 
has no place. 

The second question whether contrition is absolutely requisite for 
the forgiveness of sins must be affirmed unconditionally. Leaving 
out of consideration the theological controversy whether God in 
His infinite freedom de potentia ahsoliita is able to remit to man 
a grievous sin without contrition, it is certain that He cannot do 
this de potentia ordinata; i. c., according to the order of the salva- 
tion as instituted by Him. Thus the Trident, sess. 14, cap. 4, 
teaches that sin never can, and never will, be remitted without con- 
trition. For this would be in opposition to all that which God 
has vouchsafed to reveal to us, about His infinite perfections and 
attributes, it would be in opposition, also, to the natural sense of 
justice, if the one who had committed a crime against a mighty 
ruler would be tolerated to appear before the offended and say: 
"Forgive me, O King, for my offense, but upon the first opportunity 
I will commit it again," and would obtain forgiveness. For this 
reason, and because the Trident, sess. 14, cap. 3, teaches that con- 
trition is not only an absolutely necessary disposition for forgive- 
ness of sins, but also the most important part of the matter of the 
Sacrament of Penance, this matter must be present at every recep- 
tion. It must be supplied in the form of an interior act, with or 
without outward expression. That by an interior, act there is meant 
no special formula is evident; there must be, however, present in 


the person's disposition in some way a spiritual activity, a thought, 
however brief, that effectively and essentially contains the hatred 
of sin and the return to the love of God. Since the Tridentine 
enumerates, as matter of this Sacrament, the three acts of the peni- 
tent : contrition, confession and satisfaction, it is plain that contrition, 
like confession and satisfaction, must consist in some way or other 
of a positive act ; and the more formal, lasting and profound it is, the 

The answer to the third question depends upon the fact whether 
the penitent's act of contrition must have relation to the Sacra- 
ment of Penance or not ; and of what kind this relation must be. 
The far greater number of theologians demand this relation, so 
that contrition, actually awakened, but without all relation to the 
subsequent Confession, puts the validity of the absolution in doubt. 
This is evident from what has been said. For if, according to the 
Tridentine, the three acts of the penitent form the matter of the 
Sacrament of Penance, they must manifestly be supplied actus 
humani; i. e., with intention and consequently with reference to the 
Sacrament. Concerning the act of contrition it is not necessary that 
the intention, or resolve, to confess should precede it ; but some rela- 
tion to the Confession it must, nevertheless, possess. According to 
Lehmkuhl {Theol. mor., ed. V., II., n. 280) this relation is sup- 
plied if (i) in the tribunal of penance a person, after accusation, 
awakens the act of contrition, or is led to do so by the confessor. 
The former is not to be advised, because it may happen that abso- 
lution by the confessor is given before real contrition has pene- 
trated the heart; (2) if a person with intention to confess examines 
his conscience and thereupon, in all earnestness, awakens the act 
of contrition as preparatory to his entering the Confessional. This 
m.anifestly is the best manner to go to Confession ; (3) if a person. 


througfi some cause, is moved to contrition and to the resolution to 
confess, even though the actual Confession be made only the next, 
or the second following day ; if only, in the latter case, the act of 
contrition virtualiter, i. e., by greater endeavor to avoid sin, or by 
oft-repeated prayer, continues. Should, however, in the meantime 
another grievous sin be committed, then the relation ceases, a new 
act of contrition must be awakened, over former sins as well as over 
the last one. 

Maria da Kundl^ O.F.M. 


Melania asks her confessor Claudius whether she is allowed to 
practice a treatment of which she has often made use before. If 
someone has received an injury causing the flow of blood, and she be 
present or called, Melania confidently says over the wound the 
words : "Blood, cease to flow, through the Sacred Blood and in the 
name of Jesus," then making the sign of the Cross over the wound, 
and she claims that as result the blood ceases flowing at once. Father 
Claudius answered: If nothing else takes place, you may continue 
doing this. Did Father Claudius give the correct answer? 

This is a case of the vana observantia, especially of the question, 
whether prayers and invocations to cure illness are to be considered 
superstitious. According to the theologians (S. Alph. Th. M. 1,4, 
n. 20, 21; Miiller, Th. M. i, //., §71, 5; Lehmkuhl Th. M. I., 
357) there is to be distinguished: (i) If such prayers contain any- 
thing untrue, useless, undignified, ridiculous, even if in other parts 
true and proper, then such prayers are prohibited. 

(2) If the prayers or exorcisms are of themselves good and cor- 
rect, their use is allowed, if there is not demanded of them infallible 
efficacy (ensalmus invocativus) . 

(3) If there is ascribed to them, especially if performed in a 
certain number of repetitions or in a certain manner, an infallible 
efficacy, they are unlawful (ensalmus constitutions). Under this 
head belongs the insistence upon a certain formula which is sup- 
posed to contain the power; for, though God grants to many the 
faculty of healing, this is a personal grace and not restricted to cer- 
tain words or signs. S. Alph. L c. n. 19: Arcendum esse . . . 


qui certis verbis utitur, quibi4s credit in esse virtutem, cum gratia 
conferatur pcrsonae, non autem verbis et signis. Laymann, I. 4, 
h. 10, c. 4, n. 4: Licet Deus quibusdam confer at gratiam sanitatum, 
tamen ita confert, ut sit gratia personalis, et non infallibiliter annexa 
certae rei aut actioni, quani quivis hominum adhibere et effectum 
miraculorum praestare possit. 

This is the case also if there are expected special, supernatural 
effects infallibly from certain prayers, or pious exercises, unless 
there is, as in the case of the Sacraments, divine institution. We 
may not even infallibly expect of sacramentals an effect in a cer- 
tain direction, although the prayer of the Church is infallibly heard. 

(4) If in doubt whether, in the use of certain forms or prayers, 
superstition is involved, they may be employed with the explicit 
intention that the expected effect is not desired of them if supersti- 
tion is involved. St. Alphonsus advises that in the instance of un- 
educated people who, in good faith and devotion, observe some 
usages not recognized by the Church, they may sometimes be let 
undisturbed, because it is hard to wean them from things that have 
come down to them from fathers and forefathers. In general, the 
priest should proceed against superstitious practises while with 
determination yet with great caution, in particular should he en- 
deavor to accustom the faithful to a proper and correct use of sac- 

Applying these principles to our case we say : of itself this prayer 
is correct, it contains nothing wrong, and if said with proper con- 
fidence in God, it is lawful. If, however, an effect is infallibly ex- 
pected, or expected from this particular formula, so that a deviation 
is thought to put the effect in question, then the practice may be 
regarded as superstitious. This points out the condition under 
which this person may be allowed to continue her practice. First 


of all, the worthiness of this person comes into consideration, for 
if God may grant the charisma even to sinners, this is the excep- 
tion and not the rule. The person is then to be asked whether she 
ascribes the effect to this particular formula, and infallibly, and is 
to be instructed on this point. There is no objection against using 
always the same form of prayer, but she must not expect efficacy 
from this formula as such : still less may she expect infallibly such 
efficacy Vv^ithout special revelation. If there is no reason for appre- 
hension in these matters she may continue her practise. 

Dr. Goepfert. 




In a dejected mood the priest Caius comes to a confrater and 
relates that he has just been made aware that the invocation of the 
holy Name of Jesus on part of the patient is a conditio sine qua 
non for granting the indulgence for the dying: he has heretofore 
neglected to make the sick aware of this, and he asks if at least 
those persons may have gained the indulgence who, though not 
ad hoc, but by chance, for instance, in saying the Hail Mary, had 
pronounced the name of Jesus. What answer is to be given? 

We have to consider here three points : ( i ) Whether the invoca- 
tion of the name of Jesus is an indispensable condition for gaining 
this indulgence. (2) Whether it is sufficient if the patient, not 
specially to gain the indulgence, yet otherwise, pronounces the 
name of Jesus? And (3) if even such casual invocation has not 
taken place, is all hope excluded that the sick person may have 
gained the indulgence? 

(i) As is well known the granting of the indulgence for the 
dying, the benedictio apostolica in articulo mortis, is based upon 
the Bull Pia Mater of Benedict XIV., issued in the year 1747. 
With truly motherly love the Church wishes to come to the assist- 
ance of her dying children. The benedictio may be administered to 
all the seriously sick, but the indulgence is only gained in veto 
mortis articulo, at the moment of death itself. Surely every priest 
regards it as his sacred duty, in accordance with the intention of the 
Church, to apply this indulgence to the dying, and to take care that 



all conditions are fulfilled, so that there may not happen what the 
pious and learned Martinus Aspilcueta states in the words Saepe 
contingit, ut quis confiteatur et moriatur plenus Bullis et vacuus 
mdulgentiis. The conditions for gaining this indulgence for the 
dying are the following: (i) The intention (habitual at least) of 
gaining the indulgence. (2) Confession and Communion, where 
possible. (3) The state of grace, if not at the moment when the 
benedict is given, yet at the moment of death : for just at that 
moment the indulgence is gained. Hence, the Ritual says : Si con- 
fessioneni non petat, excitet ilium ad eliciendiim actum contritionis. 
(4) Acts of contrition and charity, and, particularly, the willing ac- 
ceptance of death from the hand of God. Upon this condition 
Benedict XIV. lays most particular stress and in the bull Pia Mater 
there is specially provided : ut omni rationc studeant (sacerdotes) 
moribundos Udeles excitare ad novos de admissis peccatis doloris 
actus elicicndos concipiendosque fen>entissime in Deum caritatis 
affectus praesertim vero ad ipsam mortem aequo ac Hbenti animo de 
manu Dei suscipiendam. Hoc enim praecipue opus in huiusm^di 
artictdo constitutis imponimus et iniungimus, quo se at plenariae 
indulgentiae fructum consequendum praeparent atque disponant. 
The priest must draw the attention of the dying to this condition,^ 
and it is best done in Confession, or when otherwise alone with the 
patient. (5) The priest must strictly adhere to the formula a Bene- 
dicto XIV. praescripta, as found in the Ritual. Is there not time 
enough for the priest to say the whole formula, he may make use 
of the abbreviated formula extracted from Benedict's formula and 
worded : Indidgcntiam plenariam et remissionem omnium peccato- 
rum tibi concedo. In nomine Patris et Filli et Spiritus sancti. Amen. 
This brief formula, although not found in the Rituale Rom., is, 
nevertheless, approved by Rome, and is contained in the appendix of 



breviaries approved by Rome. Finally (6), the invocation of the 
holy Name of Jesus. This last condition we will examine here more 

It would appear at first sight that the invocation of the holy name 
is not required as conditio sine qua non, because this condition 
is mentioned neither by the bull Pia Mater nor in the rubrics of the 
Rituale Rom. However, this condition is mentioned in the rescripts 
to individual bishops, through which the faculty is given them to 
grant this indulgence, and to subdelegate for it. Decisive is the 
answer of the Congregation of Indulgences of September 20, 1775, 
to the question : Invocatio saltern mentalis, de qim Ht mentio in 
Brevibus ad Episcopos de hac bencdictione missis, praescribiturne, 
quamdiu aegrotiis suae mentis est compos, ut conditio sine qua non, 
ad indulgentiani vi istius benedictionis lucrandamf The answer 
given was : Aiflrmative. This answer received in recent times 
a positive confirmation, even in sensu extensivo. The Archbishop 
of Dublin submitted to the Holy See the question as to whether the 
invocation of the holy name of Jesus was required also in mission- 
ary territories. For such districts permission to grant this indul- 
gence is not given in briefs, in which the invocation of the holy 
name of Jesus is prescribed, but by reason of a constitution of Clem- 
ent XIV., in which the invocation of the holy Name is not men- 
tioned. Moreover, this constitution was issued three years before 
the decision of the Congregation of Indulgences of September 20, 
1775. Requiriturne, the archbishop asked, tanquam conditio sine 
qua non ad lucrandam praedictam indulgentiani, ut aegrotus in 
locis missionum constitutus, quamdiu suae mentis est compos, in- 
vocet Nomen Jesu, ore, si potuerit, sin minus, corde? The answer 
the Congregation of Indulgences of September 22, 1892, was : AfRrm- 
aiive: i. e., invocatio, saltem mentalis, Ssi nominis Jesu est conditio 


sine qua non pro universis ChristiUdelibus, qui in mortis articulo 
constituti, plenarium indulgentiam assequi volunt in huius benedic- 
tionis, iiixta id quod decrevit haec S. Congregatio in una Vindana 
sub die 20 Sept, 1775. 

It is evident from this decision of the Congregation that, for the 
gaining of the indulgences, it is absolutely necessary for the patient, 
provided he be conscious, to invoke the name of Jesus, with the lips 
if possible, otherwise in spirit. 

(2) The second point is whether the patient must expressly and 
ad hoc, that is, with the intention of gaining the indulgence, invoke 
the holy Name, or whether it suffices if the patient pronounce the 
name of Jesus casually, for instance, in saying the Hail Mary, or 
in some ejaculatory prayer. We reply that, for gaining the indul- 
gence, it suffices if the patient pronounces the name of Jesus in any 
manner, and has, at least in general, the intention of gaining the 
indulgence, even though he does not know that the invocation of the 
holy Name is a condition. We must conclude this from an analogous 
case. According to the general teaching of theologians an indul- 
gence is gained by performing the prescribed act, if one has in gen- 
eral the intention of gaining all possible indulgences, though one 
may not know that an indulgence is joined to this particular act. 
What is to be said, we might further ask, if the patient pronounces 
the name of Jesus only in a prayer which he is obliged to say, for 
instance, a prayer imposed as a penance? In this case we also may 
suppose with certainty, that the patient gains the indulgence. P. 
Schneider {Indulgences 8, p. 79) expressly remarks that this is the 
view held in Rome, and that confessors with preference impose as 
penance prayers to which are joined indulgences: it may be sup- 
posed therefore that this custom has the silent approval of the 


It is required that the patient must, if possible, pronounce the 
name of Jesus with the Hps. Is it necessary that others, the priest, 
for instance, should hear it? We reply: this is not necessary. This 
is a matter analogous to the prescribed recitation of the Breviary. 
The Breviary is oratio verhalis, a verbal prayer. It suffices if the 
words are formed with the articulating organs, it is not necessary to 
say them so that others hear them ; indeed, the priest need not even 
hear them himself. If the pronouncation or forming of the word 
Jesus is no longer possible, it suffices for the patient to do it in the 
spirit ut invocet nomen Jesu saltern corde. 

When must this invocation of the holy Name take place? Must 
it be done when the h^nedictio apostolica is given, or is it sufficient 
if the patient fulfils this condition later, directly before death for 
instance? We reply, the latter suffices. We conclude this from 
analogous cases. If, for instance, some one received the henedictio 
apostolica in the state of grievous sin, but later attains the state of 
grace, the henedictio apostolica could not be repeated. Once the 
henedictio has been given to the patient, he gains the indulgence, 
even if he only fulfils the conditions in the moment of death ; i. e., 
if he enters the state of grace at the moment of death. As with the 
state of grace, so with the other conditions, it suffices if they are 
complied with in articulo mortis, for at that very moment the indul- 
gence is gained. Therefore, it is sufficient if the invocation of the 
holy Name of Jesus, if not at the moment of receiving the henedictio 
from the priest, takes place later on, even at the moment of death. 

(3) Let us now pass to the third question. If the patient does not 
at all invoke the name of Jesus, is there no hope that he may yet 
have gained the indulgence ? 

In general, an indulgence cannot be gained when an essential 
condition is not fulfilled, this applies even if this happens as a con- 


sequence of inability or ignorance. "If anyone," the Raccolta says, 
"omits the work prescribed altogether, or a considerable part of it, 
either from ignorance or neglect, or even from inability, he will 
not gain the indulgence." 

As regards the indulgence for the dying, it should be observed 
that the Church herself dispenses in the case of the patient's in- 
ability from the condition of the Invocatio nominis Jesu; for, 
according to the Ritual, the benedictio apostolica may, and should, 
be given, even to persons deprived of their senses, whether uncon- 
scious or insane. In case of the unconscious sick the invocation is 
entirely dispensed with ; it is required only of sick who are con- 
scious, and these latter, if possible, must pronounce the holy name 
of Jesus, or at least invoke it mentally. The condition is such an 
easy one that with the conscious sick there can be no inability : the 
question is : What will be the consequence if, on account of ignor- 
ance, this condition were not complied with ? We reply : Ignorance 
would be no excuse of itself ; for the invocatio is conditio sine qua 
non. If, therefore, a conscious patient neither invokes the holy 
Name with the lips, or, this being impossible, in spirit, he will not 
gain the indulgence. Yet it is to be observed how unlikely this 
would be in the case of an otherwise well-disposed Catholic, and 
for this reason our Father Caius probably need not worry with 
regard to the patients whom he failed to remind of this invocation. 

While discussing details we may cite a few other cases : A sick 
man while receiving the benedictio apostolica omitted to pronounce 
the name of Jesus with the lips, although quite able to do so. Later, 
though retaining consciousness, he grows so weak that he can no 
longer pronounce the holy Name with the lips ; he, however, invokes 
it in spirit. Does he gain the indulgence? We answer, Yes. For 
he in fact fulfils all conditions immediate! v befcM-e death. Otir 


answer would be the same even if he, while capable, intentionally 
and in malice omitted to pronounce the holy Name with the lips ; 
but later on, seized by remorse, and no longer able to invoke the holy 
Name with his lips, does so in spirit, for he, too, has fulfilled the 

A man, to his last conscious and capable of pronouncing the holy 
Name with his lips, invokes it only in spirit. Does he gain the 
indulgence ? We think we have to answer : No, at least it seems 
very doubtful. For even if the answers of the Congregation of In- 
dulgences of the years 1775 and 1892 only say that the Invocatio 
saltern nventalis Ssi nominis is conditio sine qua non, yet they pro- 
vide : invocatio de qua Ht mentio in Brevibus ad Episcopus datis. I 
have been unable to inspect such a brief, but I think I may con- 
clude from the words of P. Schneider {Indulgences 8, p. 679), 
and also from the inquiry of the Archbishop of Dublin that these 
briefs probably read : ut aegrotus, quamdiu suae mentis est compos, 
invocet Nomen Jesu ore si potucrit, sin minus, corde. 

Therefore, the words Invocatio saltern mentalis de qua, etc., of 
the decision of the Congregation, must be taken in this sense. In 
our case, however, the man could have pronounced the holy Name 
with his lips, but did not do so, ergo. 

One more case. The patient at the time when the benedictio is 
given him, omits to pronounce the name of Jesus ; later he becomes 
unconscious and dies. Did he gain the indulgence? If he cul- 
pably neglected the invocatio, because he did not care for the in- 
dulgence, then he has not gained it, there was lacking the intentio 
lucrandi indulgentiam. If, however, the invocation was omitted 
without fault (from ignorance), and the patient had the good will 
to gain the indulgence, then the matter is doubtful. From the de- 
cision of the Congregation of Indulgences a negative answer seems 


to be in order. But cannot this case be considered analogous to 
the case of an unconscious person receiving the henedictio? In 
articulo mortis both are in the same condition, both have the habitual 
intention, over both the benedictio is pronounced, and while the 
one was at that time not yet unconscious, now, at the moment of 
death, he is in the same condition as the other. I would not ex- 
clude all possibility of his gaining the indulgence. But would this 
opinion not make the decision of the Congregation illusory? Not 
entirely, it would apply if the patient had not lost consciousness, 
and yet he neither pronounced the holy Name with his lips, nor in 
spirit, although he could have done so. 

The priest — let us emphasize this in conclusion — should never 
neglect to draw the patient's attention particularly to the two condi- 
tions, or ready acceptance of death from the hand of God, and of 
pronouncing the holy name of Jesus. It will be best to do this when 
hearing the Confession, Both conditions may be included in a short 
ejaculatory prayer which the patient should be asivcd to repeat, for 
example, "O God, I humbly accept thy holy will. Jesus, my Lord 
and Saviour, have mercy on me." 

Ig. Risdee. 


No doubt General Confession is in many cases necessary. This 
necessity will occur in the case of women more frequently than of 
men, because invalid Confessions, for lack of contrition or of sin- 
cerity, are more frequently made by the former than by the latter. 
When, therefore, there is need of a General Confession in the case 
of a female, the confessor is, of course, obliged to hear the same. 
But great precaution is required in this matter, as it not infrequently 
happens that females misuse General Confession and are prompted 
by discreditable motives. Such motives are, for instance: i. Curi- 
osity regarding the ways of a new confessor ; 2. Infatuation, which 
causes the penitent to seek opportunity for long conversations with 
the confessor ; 3. Jealousy, the person endeavoring to stay longer 
in the confessional than other penitents of her sex ; 4. Now and 
then malicious intention, either of confusing young and inexperi- 
enced confessors, or even to lead them into temptation, by inventing 
sins contra sextum, etc. Hence young priests in particular should 
be cautious in such cases and seek in a prudent way to ascertain of 
what mind the penitent is, and by what motives she feels induced 
to make a General Confession. 

For it is not merely a waste of time to hear a General Confession 
made only for purpose of conversation. For that reason it is well 
not to lose sight of the Ducitc Caute. 

Dr. Joseph Niglutsch. 



Since cases involving the question of burying suicides are not in- 
frequent, it v^rill be weW to give a brief statement of the principles 
which must govern the priest's procedure under such circumstances. 

Christian burial, which includes the obsequies prescribed by the 
Church, and depositing the corpse in consegrated ground, the ceme- 
tery, constitutes a distinction in the view of the Church not only, but 
also of the faithful, and it can only be accorded to those who, during 
life and at their death, showed themselves to be true members of the 
Church, and therefore worthy of this distinction. This manifestly is 
not true of those who, of sound mind and therefore with premedita- 
tion and intention, make away with themselves, and thus not only 
cause sorrow to the Church, but give great scandal to the faithful. 
By his crime the suicide forfeits the distinction of Christian burial 
and it would be unjust, and would provike scandal, if he, in 
regard to Christian burial, were given equality with those members 
of the Church who depart this life in the faith and reconciled 
to God. 

Christian burial is a privilege of the faithful also by reason of 
their communion with the Church, which, according to her teaching, 
is not terminated by death, but continues after the same. The true 
Catholic is in his last hour at one with the Church ; he receives from 
her hand the last fortifying, the last consolation upon the final, de- 
cisive road. It is therefore a natural and logical consequence that 
those who have shown themselves unworthy of this ecclesiastical 
communion, be it during life by a conduct that incurs censure (and 
which, through the fault of the deceased, has not been removed), or 



be it in death, by commission of a grievous crime which the Church 
punishes with deprivation of Christian burial, have lost the right to 
such burial. Suicide is such a crime which the Church punishes 
with the refusal of Christian burial, in order to indicate that those 
who commit it cannot continue in her communion, and, also, to 
inspire her children with a great horror of this crime. 

The Roman ritual contains the following clear and distinct direc- 
tions: Ignorare non debet parochus, qui ad ecclcsiastica sepidtura 
ipso jure sint excludendi, ne quemquam ad illam contra sacrornm 
canonum decreta unquam admittat. Negatur igitur eccleciastica 
sepuUura . . . seipsos occidentibus ob desperationem vel ira- 
cundiam, non tamen, si ex insania id accidat, nisi {tales suicidof) 
ante mortem dederint signa poenitentia. 

Manifestly there is here made distinction in regard to the un- 
fortunates who commit suicide. There are those who, in the state 
of insanity, of hypochondria, or of melancholy, therefore while of 
unsound mind, take their lives ; to such unfortunates Christian burial 
cannot be denied, because their act was neither premeditated nor 
undertaken in full possession of reason, and therefore not culpable ; 
indeed, according to the decision of the Congregation of the Holy 
OfRce (ddto. May i6, 1866), they may even be buried with solemn 

To the other class belong those who commit suicide with design 
and premeditation, in a conscious and sane state of mind, in culp- 
able despair or anger. If it is certain that the deed was done in 
soundness of mind, and with the full use of reason, with full knowl- 
edge and intention, then Christian burial, as any other ecclesiastical 
function, even the ordinar}' blessing of the corpse, must be denied. 
In this case Christian burial would manifestly be a violation of the 
law; it would be a weakening of Church discipline and of the re- 

214 ^'^^ CASUIST— VOL. Ill 

ligious sentiment of the faithful, who would be scandalized by such 
burial, as experience has shown. Nevertheless the Church, ever 
solicitous for the salvation of her members, uses even in regard to 
these iniquitous unfortunates, utmost indulgence and consideration. 
If such persons do not die in the commission of the deed, and if 
before dying they give signs of repentance, if they ask for the priest, 
or, perhaps, even receive the Sacraments, then the Church does not 
refuse them Christian burial. {Rit Rom. I. c.) 

When, on the contrary, it remains doubtful, after careful inquiry 
into the matter, whether the deed occurred with full consciousness 
and in sane mind, then the suicide's irresponsibility is presumed, 
because it is not supposed that anyone in sound mind and unimpaired 
use of reason would commit so grievous and unnatural a crime as 
premeditated suicide, and deal with his greatest earthly good, his 
life, so malevolently. In such a case the deceased may be allowed 
Christian burial, according to the principle : Odiosa sunt restringen- 
da, omitting, however, solemnity and display. 

If for some reasons it appears doubtful whether a suicide should 
be refused or allowed Christian burial, the case with detailed in- 
formation should be laid before the ordinary, and his decision ob- 

The principles here briefly set forth governing the burial of sui- 
cides are specifically contained in the quoted decision of the Congre- 
gation of the Holy Office, of which we will insert here, on account 
of their great practical significance the chief points: "Moneantur 
Parochi, ut in singulis casibus, quoad fieri potest, re currant ad Or- 
dinarium. Regula est, non licere dare ecclesiasticam septdturam 
seipsos occidentibus ob desperationcm vel iracundiam {non tamen si 
ex insania id accidit), nisi ante mortem dederint signa poenitentiae. 


1. quando certo constat vel de iracundia vel de desperatione, negari 
debet ecclesiastica sepultura et vitari debent pompae et solemnitates 

2. quando autem certo constat de insania, detur ecclesiastica sepul- 
tura cum solcmnitatibus exequiarum; 

3. Quado tamen dubium superest, utrum mortem quis sibi dederit 
ob desperationem vel ob insaniam, dari potest ecclesiastica sepultura, 
vitatis tamen pompis ct solemnitatibus exequiarum. 

If these principles about the burying of suicides are rigidly ob- 
served and explained to the faithful on suitable opportunities, mis- 
takes in the pastoral practise v/ill not be easily made, and criticism 
and unpleasantness will be avoided. 

Dr. Anton Brychta. 


In a place where there is a great gathering of disreputable 
persons, there appeared one day a suspicious-looking individual 
in the confessional. Among other things he confessed that about 
a year ago he had been working in a certain convent, and had 
there taken part in the theft of a chalice, representing in value 
several hundred dollars. The chalice had then been pawned for 
twenty-five dollars. Within three days the pawn-ticket would expire, 
and unless the loan is repaid by that time the sacred vessel would be 
abandoned to its uncertain fate. The man states that his accomplices 
refuse to redeem the chalice, but that he, driven by remorse of 
conscience, has with great effort saved all but ten dollars towards 
the sum. He asked the confessor to lend him this sum, which he 
would surely repay to the last penny, so that he may redeem the 
chalice and restore it to the owner. 

As there were many waiting, and inquiry into this matter would 
probably take up much time, the penitent was told that such an 
important matter could not be properly discussed in the confessional, 
and he was directed to come the following day to the priest's study, 
where the matter might be talked over. Absolution was, of course, 
not given. The following day this man reappeared, not at the 
rectory, however, but again in the confessional, thus increasing the 
priest's suspicions. The latter became even somewhat exasperated 
and told this supposed swindler just what he thought of him in no 
uncertain terms. The would-be penitent then became abusive and 
left confessional and church abruptly and, of course, without abso- 

Father A, the priest in the case, related the facts to his confrater 



C, and asked his opinion as to whether he acted correctly. Father 
C. agreed that the man was probably a swindler. But as there was 
always a possibility that the matter might really be as stated, he 
thought that Father A. should have given the matter a more 
thorough investigation. In the confessional where the welfare of 
a soul is at stake, Father C. pointed out, it is necessary to proceed 
with greater caution and foresight than perhaps at the door of 
the rectory. It is certain that the circumstances justified the sus- 
picion that the man was a clever swindler. Had he been what 
he claimed to be, if he had taken to heart his sacrilegious deed 
and by deprivation had striven to make good the wrong done, he 
would not have dreaded that walk to the rectory, unpleasant though 
it might have been. He feared, probably, that there he would be 
unmasked and handed over to the police. However, these are only 
probabilities. Your procedure, said Father C, would be justified 
only by absolute certainty, which might have been secured in two 
ways. You might have either directed him to bring the pawn-ticket, or 
else offered to go with him to the pawnbroker, with the promise that 
if the matter was found to be as stated, you would give the money. 
Then, if the man was a swindler, he would not have waited foi 
further developments and would have vanished at short notice. 
That Father C.'s advice was to the point was confirmed the very 
next day. He was in the confessional when a seemingly very con- 
trite man came and confessed this very case. When the man had 
finished Father C. made him his proposition. It happened as fore- 
told — the penitent left confessional and church quite hurriedly and 
has not shown up since. Father C. was able to assure Father A. 
that he need have no scruples. The facts in the case may be of 
value to others exposed to such iniposition. 

Dr. W. a. Engelhardt. 


In the parish of N. one Remigius, an aged man, lies at the point 
of death. He has been a hopeless imbecile since his twentieth year, 
in consequence of a fall from a tree. One of the two priests sta- 
tioned in this parish remarks : "To such persons in their last moments 
Extreme Unction is given, but nothing more." But the other does 
not share this view, and administers to this sick man conditional 
absolution, also Viaticum and Extreme Unction. 

Question : Which of these two priests is right ? 

If we examine the view of the latter, we shall at the same time 
arrive at a correct opinion of the other priest's reasoning. We ask : 
I. Can and may this Remigius be absolved? 

We preface our answer by stating a general rule, according 
to Lehmkuhl : Qiiando enim certum est, aliquid essentiale deesse, 
absolutionem dare non licet, si quideni prorsns vane et proin sacrilege 
daretur: quando vero aliquo modo, licet tenuiter probabile esf,"^ 
adesse omnia essentialia, absolutio dari non solum potest, sed debet. 
Quod intellige tamen ita, ut existere possint casus, in quibus dari 
possit absolutio, non autem sub peccato dari debeat, quando nimirum 
plerique theologi negant, absolutionem dari licere, aliquibus tantum 
docentibus, earn posse dari. P. II. n. 510. From this general rule 
there follows for our case: 

I. Has Remigius been a total imbecile since infancy, not having 

'^Marc. Inst. Mor. n. 1855 (3) remarks, supported by the teaching of St. 
Alphonsus : "In casu extremae necessitatis, in Sacramentorum administra- 
Hone licet uti probabilitate tenui et parutn fundata," 



had a single lucid moment, then under no circumstances could he 
nor might he be absolved, proper defectum matcriae Sacramenti, turn 
remotae (/. e. peccatorum), turn proximae {actunni poenitentis). 

2. If, on the contrary, Remigius is only partly imbecile, if there 
be even only slight reason to suppose that he at the present time has 
lucid moments and, even though unnoticed, manifests the desire 
to confess, then, after proper effort to dispose him if necessary, at 
least conditional absolution must be given him in danger of death. 

3. If it is morally certain that the sick man, a total imbecile for 
years, has no lucid moments even now, no more than ever before 
during his affliction, absolution cannot be given him even in danger 
of death, not even conditionally, because in the case of a person who 
for so many years has been incapable of any intelligent act, it is 
impossible to presume the actus poenitentis (contrition, confession 
and satisfaction) or in case of necessity, at least perceptible ex- 
pression of the inward disposition, which, according to the doctrine 
of the Council of Trent (sess. 14. cap. 3), and according to the 
Rituale Rom., constitutes the proximate matter {materia proxima) 
of the Sacrament of Penance, and as such belongs to the essence of 
the Sacrament, also because such a person can have no actual or 
virtual intention of receiving the Sacrament, such as is necessary, 
according to the universal teaching of theologians, for the validity of 
the Sacrament of Penance. {St. Alph. Theolog. mor. i, VI. n. 82.) 

4. As opposed to these reasons, the following rule of theologians 
seems to supply that probability which is necessary in order to make 
possible the absolution of Remigius, conditionally, upon his death- 
bed, in the state just described of many years of total loss of reason. 
This rule states : Absokendi sint omnes moribundi sensibus dcstituti, 
qui ante sensuum privationem expresse confessionis desidcrium osten- 
derunt, e. g. jubendo advocari saccrdotem. Ratio est, quia confessio 


in casu satis sensihiliter innotescit confessario per testimonium 
alterius et est veluti confcssio per Intcrpretem. Constat ex Rit. Rom. 
de Sacr. Poenit. Camp. P. Marc: Inst, moral, n. 1855. 

If we consider this rule in the light of the various explanations 
by authorities, we see that they in principle permit even the absolute 
granting of absolution {sine conditione: si capax es), even though 
some, for greater security, advise conditional absolution. (S. Alph. 
Theol. Moral, i. VI. n. 481 : Utrum vero, etc.), and that they allow 
unconditional absolution even if the patient not merely has ex- 
teriorly lost use of his senses, but also the interior use of reason, 
Lehmkuhl states : Hinc patet, si moribundus per testes ostendit 
desiderium conHtendi, et interim loquclam usumque rationis amisit, 
de danda absolutione non esse duhitandum, imo de adjicienda condi- 
tione: si capax es — no7i esse negotimn faciendum. P. II. n. 510 (2). 

Furthermore, the aiithorities make no mention here of a require- 
ment that between such personal expression of contrition of the peni- 
tent, and the absolution of the priest, at most only a period of an 
hour may elapse between Confession and Absolution, as under other 
circumstances {comp. S. Alph. Theol. Mor. i. VI. n. 9). The com- 
pletion of the act of confession therefore must here be furnished in 
the deposition by witnesses, made in the presence of the priest, hence 
a longer or lesser interval of time between the penitent's manifesta- 
tion of contrition and the absolution of the priest does not come into 
consideration at all. It follows: The proximate matter {materia 
proxima) of the Sacrament is, in a confession through witnesses, 
found in former acts of the penitent, noticed by witnesses, which 
are now from their disposition accepted by the priest judicialiter et 
sacramentaliter, and which by means of this testimony and the sacra- 
mental verdict of the priest still continue to exist as materia, and 
which with the now supplied form of absolution join in constituting 


the Sacrament. In regard to the intention Lehmkuhl writes: P. II. n. 
49: Pro poenitentia requiritur virtualis infentio, si actus poenitentis 
respicis; habitualis sufUcit, si respicis solam absolutionem accipi- 

In such confession through witnesses the proceedings are similar 
to those in a confession through an interpreter (Confcssio per in- 
ter pretem). 

5. As regards the testimony and witnesses in favor of Remigius, we 
can at least say for him that which Pope Benedict XIV. in such a 
case values so highly, namely : Si jam receptum et ratuni est, ut qui 
nullum poenitentiae signum coram Sacerdote exhibeat^ absolutionc 
denetur, quoties adstantes Sacerdoti testiUcantur, eundem confes- 
sionem postulasse; co fortius absolvi poterit, vel potius dehebit is, cui 
licet nemo testimonium reddat, tot tamen testes sunt de ejus proposito, 
recipiendi Sacramenta in supremo vitae discrimine , quot sunt actus 
christianarum virtutum, quot confessiones sacramentales ^ et com- 
muniones, qUot demum religionis pietatisque opera, quibus in uni- 
verse suae vitae cursu manifestum probitatis specimen praebuit 
(De Syn. dioec. i. VIL cap. XV. n. X). 

Lehmkuhl adds to this : Neque talis desiderii aliqualis manifestatio 
deest in eo, qui parum christiane vixit, nam eo, quod mansit in 
Ecclesia, ostendit, se sperare et cujpere, ut in ultimo vitae tempore 
per Ecclesiam cum Deo reconcilietur (P. II. n. 514). 

Beyond all doubt the absolution in all such cases is, and remains, 
invalid and ineffectual if the penitent after committing his last 
mortal sin did not make an act of contrition (saltem attritionis) , 
because without this act of penitence he is incapable of justification. 

With this disposition for attaining the state of grace presupposed, 
the reasons quoted for the presence of the necessary matter and in- 
tention in our case seem to prove the validity of the absolution at 


least with the requisite probabilitas in order to lawfully absolve 
Remigius in danger of death conditionate, and we would urge the 
absolution under such conditions so much more, as the dying man in 
this state can no longer receive any other Sacrament. 

II. May in our case the Viaticum also be given to the dying man ? 
The Ritnale Rom. answers: i. lis, qui propter actatis imhecilUtatem 
nondum hujus Sacramcnti cognitioncm et gustum hahent, adminis- 
trari nan debet. To children who have not attained the use of reason, 
and to those who since birth have been hopeless imbeciles, and have 
also at present no lucid moments, according to the present practise of 
the Church, the \"iaticum cannot be given even in danger of death. 
2. Amentibus, sen phreneticis commmiicare non licet: licebit tamen, si 
qiiando habeant lucida intervalla, et devotioncm ostendant, dum 
in eo statu maneant si nullum indignitatis pericuhim adest {ibid.). 
From this it follows: (a) Except in danger of death, holy Com- 
munion cannot be administered to any one, who, when receiving it, 
is not conscious, or has not the use of reason, (b) To children of 
weak mind who are of the right age, to persons partly imbeciles, to 
the aged of weak mind, and persons of this kind holy Communion 
must be given, if they are capable to distinguish the same from 
ordinary food, at least at Eastertime, and in danger of death. 
{S. Alph. Theolog, Moral, i. VI. n. 303. c). If there is well- 
founded apprehension, or even danger, of desecration, the Most 
Blessed Sacrament must never be given, not even as Viaticum. 
Si nullum indignitatis pericuhim adest. Rit. Rom. 3. As specially 
concerning our case we quote from St. Alphonsus (Theol. mor. 
I VI. n. 302) : de illis amentibus, "qui non semper carnerunt usu ra- 
tionis, sed nunc carenf ; in hoc sequenda est doctrina d. Thomae I. c. 
ubi sic ait: "Si prius, quando erant compotes suae mentis, apparuit in 
eis devotio hujus Sacramcnti, debet cis in articulo mortis hoc Sacra- 


mentum cxhiberi. nisi forte Umeatur periculum z'omitus vcl exspui- 

St. Alphonsus states as reason that such a sick man desires the 
holy Viaticum interpretative, and that the reception of the same is 
necessary for his salvation if he fell into this state of total obscurity 
of mind while in a state of mortal sin, about which, however, 
he had yet made an act of imperfect contrition. That holy Com- 
munion in this case would effect justification the holy Te,acher 
holds for morally certain in practise, as is evident from his solution 
of another question (i. VI. n. 619 in -fine). Hence it is evident: The 
priest may and should give to Remigius the Viaticum, if this may be 
done without probable danger of irreverence to the sacred species, 
and if he cannot ascertain that the patient has lost consciousness in 
the state of complete impenitence. Excipiunt D.D. si certo prae- 
sumatur talis in amentiam incidisse penitus impoenitens {S. Alph. 
/. c). Hence Lehmkuhl states (P. //. n. 146, 6), that to those who in 
the commission of a mortal sin {in actu peccati) lost consciousness, 
the Viaticum can only be given when it is the sole means by which 
they can probably still be helped, or if they, by a positively probable 
sign, give evidence of their conversion and change of mind. When in 
doubt, finally, as to whether the patient in his unconscious state can 
take the holy Eucharist sine periculo vomitus vel exspuitionis, a trial 
should be made with an unconsecrated host, or with part of one. 

ni. Respecting Extreme Unction we remark briefly that the same 
is to be administered to our patient all the more than holy Viaticum, 
partly because in such cases, according to the teaching of theolo- 
gians, it remits mortal sin per se etsi consequenter (S. Alph. i. VI. 
n. 731) partly because of all the Sacraments which such a dying man 
may receive. Extreme Unction is the one most certain to help him, 
because it not merely effects justification, when the patient previously 

224 'J'HE CASUIST— VOL. Ill 

has made an act of imperfect contrition and after that has committed 
no mortal sin, but, according to the opinion of theologians, even 
then if he makes this act of contrition, if not made before, after 
the reception of this Sacrament, in a lucid moment. Marc {Inst, 
moral. 1397) puts the question: An Sacramenta cum obice recepta, 
eo sublato, reviviscant? and answers in the sense of St. Alphonsus : 
Sacramentuni Baptismi remoto per suhsequentem dispositionem obice 
reviviscit. Ita commnnitcr A A. — MuJti probabiliter idem docent de 
Coniirmatione etc. et de Extrema Unctione. Ratio, quia Ext. Unctio 
in eodem mortis periculo iterari nequit; consentaneum tamen bonitati 
divinae videtur, uf tales suscipientes non maneant privati gratia 
sacramentali, qua indigent. 

He who administers this Sacrament should be very careful never 
to make the condition : Si dignus es, subintelligens: si es in statu 
gratiae — for by this condition he would himself prevent the effect 
of this Sacrament most necessary for salvation. Only in case the 
priest cannot learn for certain whether the patient had even in his 
life a sufficient use of reason, he ought to give Extreme Unction with 
the condition : si capax es; for he who from birth has been of insane 
mind is incapable of receiving this Sacrament validly. 

From these remarks about administering the last Sacraments to 
imbeciles it is plain that the priest who gave Remigius the Sacra-' 
ments under the conditions mentioned, acted correctly and dutifully, 
that on the contrary the principle of the other, if carried out without 
discrimination, is theoretically false, and in practise may do great 
injury to the spiritual welfare of such unfortunate people. 

John Sghwienbacher, C.SS.R. 


That a general accusation in case of necessity suffices for con- 
fession when it is impossible to make a specified accusation, as it 
not infrequently happens in the case of dying-, is a universally known 
and certain doctrine of holy Church, and contained in the Ritiiale 
Romanum. It is another question, one upon which theologians differ, 
whether such accusation is satisfactory in respect to sins which 
one is not obliged to confess, venial sins for instance, or mortal sins 
already confessed and forgiven through absolution by a priest. A 
penitent, for instance, accuses himself of venial sins committed since 
the last Confession, and includes the sins of his past life with the 
words : "I also include all sins of my past life in this Confession," 
or the penitent is not conscious of any sins committed since the last 
Confession, so that this general statement is his whole accusation. 

In discussing this question two points must of necessity be dis- 
tinguished — the validity, and the lawfulness, of such a Confession. 
The first question is therefore whether such a general accusation, 
where a materia necessaria is lacking, is valid, even if the case is not 
one of necessity; the second, is it permitted? 

I. Is it valid? This question in my opinion should be answered 
affirmatively, because confirmed by the Ratio theologica, as also by 
the opinions of theologians. 

As regards the intrinsic reason, it is essential but also sufficient 
in the holy Sacrament of Penance that the confessor pronounces 
sentence and applies his jurisdiction. The confessor is made aware 



from the penitent's accusation that since his last Confession he has 
not been guilty of grievous sin, and that for this reason he accuses 
himself of sins already confessed and forgiven. With regard to these 
sins the confessor reasons that the penitent confesses them with 
sincere contrition, detailed knowledge of these sins in particular is not 
necessary to him, as they have been already judged by a priest and 
remitted; the penitent, however, deserves {de congruo) on account 
of his renewed accusation a renewing of the grace dispensed in the 
Sacrament of Penance. If a general accusation such as this did not 
suffice for the essence of the Sacrament of Penance, it could not 
suffice either in the case of a dying person, nor in any other case 
where, on account of circumstances, it is impossible to confess special 
sins. Since, however, the nature of the Sacrament is unchangeable, 
and in case of necessity a general accusation is valid and sufficient 
where it refers to the materia necessaria, then it must be valid also 
when it concerns a materia libera. The reason why, except in the 
case of necessity, a general mention of non-confessed mortal sins is 
insufficient for Confession is found in the Divine Commandment, 
which directs the sinner to confess his sins with kind and number, 
so that the priest may be enabled to judge of the spiritual state of 
the penitent, and to decide whether he is worthy or unworthy of 
absolution. It is clear that he who acts contrary to this command- 
ment cannot receive valid absolution. There is no such a command- 
ment concerning venial sins, or mortal sins already confessed and 
forgiven ; hence it suffices to confess these in general to the confessor 
with true contrition and firm resolve to avoid them; the confessor 
judges this and gives absolution in accordance. 

The intrinsic reasons for this opinion are supported by the opinion 
of theologians. That many great teachers do not doubt the validity 
of such Confession cannot be disputed. St. Alphonsus, for instance, 


in discussing the question whether an invalid Confession must be 
repeated, when the penitent renews his accusation to the confessor 
who has heard the invahd Confession decides {Lib. 6. w. 502) that 
this repetition is not required. He says : SufHcit si confcssarhis re- 
cordetur status poenitentis, vel reswnat notitiam ejus in confuso, 
et poenitens in communi se accuset de omnibus priiis confcssis. 
Ratio, quia, licet prima confessio non fuerit Sacranientalis . . . 
tamen ratiUcatio illius, dum poenitens dcindc in generali se accusat 
de culpis confessis, conjuncta cum notitia antccedenter habita a con- 
fessario, bene sufUciens reputatur. Item, quia, ut probabiliter censet 
Croix I. c, talis confessio, cum facta fuerit in ordine ad absolii- 
tionem recipiendam, siMcienter etiam dicitur sac ram en talis, quatenus 
ipsa etiam ad sigillum sacramentale. If we apply this principle to 
our question the result is that a general accusation of the sins of 
the past life suffices when the sins are known to the confessor from 
a previous confession to such extent that he has at least a cognitio 
confusa of his penitent's state of conscience. The holy teacher goes 
further, after supposing the case that the confessor has forgotten 
all and yet contents himself with the general accusation of his peni- 
tent, he expresses the opinion : Non poterit quidem licite absolu- 
tionem impertiri, ut recte dicunt Lugo n. 642, Croix n. 1218 et 
Laymann cum aliis supra citat., quia tunc non posset convenientem 
imponere poenitentiam. Si tamen tunc absolveret, facta confessione 
in communi, valide absolveret, ut Laym. c. 9 n. 6. in fine, et Croix i. 
c. cum Aversa, Illsung et Diana. 

St, Alphonsus summits no reasons for his decision, but refers to 
Laymann, Croix, etc., so that he makes the teaching of these 
theologians his own. This teaching contains the answer to our 
question, and in proof thereof it will suffice to state the reason of 
their teaching, which Laymann expresses in the following words: 

2 28 ' THE CASUIST— VOL. Ill 

Ratio est, quam saepius dedi, quia spcciUca et particulans peccato- 
rum manifestatio aut cognitio per se et simpliciter non est dc essentia 
ac necessitate Sacramenti, sed tantiim de necessitate praecepti divini, 
cui poenitens antea satisfecit. In another place {cap. 8. n. 2.) he 
discusses this point more extensively : Est autein, diligenter hoc loco 
observandum, quod specifica et numerica explicalio omnium pecca- 
torum per sc et directe non pertinet ad necessitatem siz'c esscntiam 
Sacramenti: quasi Sacramentum Poenitentiae numquam consistere 
possif, nisi intcgra omnium mortalium confessio Hat, sicut praeter 
alios notavit Pahid. in 4. d. 21. q. 2. a. 2. concl. 2., Suares, disp. 
23. sect. I. n. 5 et 10, Coninck. disp. 7. dub. i. et dub. 10. concl. 2. 
Sed potitts spectat ad necessitatem praecepti diznni; cujus tamcn 
voluntaria transgressio indirecte redundat in defectum Sacramenti, 
ut nimirum valide non suscipiatur. Nam ad substantiam Sacramenti 
Poenitentiae per se requiritur saltern attritio: haec autem consistere 
non potest cum peccato actuali, videlicet sacrilegio mortali, quod 
conHtens eommittit unum vel plura peccata absque justa causa, seu 
per malitiam seu per crassam negligentiam reticendo. 

It follows from this that a general accusation, if not contrary to 
the Divine Commandment, suffices for the nature of the Sacrament 
of Penance. Croix likewise writes: loc. cit.: Ad valorem absolu- 
tionis sufficit accusare se de peccatis in communi, quamvis hoc sit 
illicitum per se loquendo, secundum dicta a n. 620, and I. c. n. 623 : 
Si quis extra necessitatem ita in genere tantum se accuset de veniali- 
bus, non determinando ullum in specie, valide quidem absolvitur, 
uti auctores communius cum Herinx d. 3. n. 6y. et Bosco n. 114. 
Suarez {Disp. 23. Sect. i. n. 9.) in respect to general accusation of 
a dying man, who cannot specify his sins better, teaches : Tan- 
dem, qui non haberet conscientiam peccati mortolis, si in illo 
articulo diceret se peccasse venialit^r, sine dubio dbsolvendus esset, 


quandoquidem in venialihus^ explicare numenim vel species, non est 
de necessitate confessionis, sed qui dicit se peccasse ad minimum dicit 
se peccasse venialiter; erit ergo materia ista sufficiens. To this the 
great teacher presumes an objection («. 10) which he answers in 
the sense of the above-mentioned theologians. Dices: hoc argu- 
mento probaretur illam confessionem peccati venialis in gencre esse 
per se siMcientem in eo, qui non habet conscientiam peccati mortalis, 
etiam extra casum necessitatis. Respondetur, fortasse, speculative 
tantum loquendo, posse hoc defendi, tum propter rationem dictam, 
turn etiam quia* confitetur verba otiosa, cejuetur dare sufUcientem 
materiam, et tamen non plus declarat conscientiam suani, qnam qui 
dicit se peccasse venialiter, nee magis variat judicium confessoris. 
Nihilominus tamen practice hoc negandum est, propter incertitudinem 
materiae. Not without importance for our question it is to learn how 
Suarez refutes the reasoning of theologians, who maintain that signs 
of contrition without the manifestation of a particular sin are not 
sufficient to grant absolution to a dying man who can no longer 
speak. The argument of these theologians was the following : 
Ubi non datur cognitio alicujus rei partictdaris, non habet locum 
judicium prudentiae ; ergo neque absolutio. He answers («. 7) : 
Aliud est scire alterum peccasse, aliud vero est scire alterum recog- 
noscere et cum dolor e subjicere clavibus sua peccata iit remittantur ; 
et haec notitia specialis ibi confertur. Unde licet ilia confessio 
quoad materiam remotam dicatur generals, quoad proximam est 
particularis, . , . Nafn quod ex parte rei, de qua fit accusatio, 
debeat esse distincta, et quod hoc omnino sit de essentia, nulla 
suiUciente ratione probatur. And n. 11 discusses this more closely. 
Neque etiam refert, quod materia remota, quae est veluti objectum 

*To what extent this reasoning stands the test we will not examine here. 


illius confessionis, sit universalis; quia absolutio immediate versatur 
circa materiam pro.vimam, quae est particularis confessio, et effcctus 
ejus ctiam versatur circa hanc particularem personam et ita tota 
haec actio circa particidaria versatur. 

It is plain from the quoted passages that Siiarez considers a 
general accusation sufficient for the validity of Confession, not only 
in the case of necessity, but also outside of it, when it relates to sins 
for which there is not the obligation by virtue of a Divine com- 
mandment to confess with kind and number. This opinion is sup- 
ported by Herinx, who teaches it even more distinctly in the follow- 
ing words: An qui nan hahet materiam necessariam, sufHcienter 
etiam extra necessiiatem. confiteatur accusando sc de omnibrts pec- 
catis in genere^ ant de venialibus in communif Resp. videri omnino 
quod sic: quia pcccata venialia in sua specia non sunt materia 
necessaria confessionis: aliunde autem talis confessio est dolorosa de 
peccatis accusatio, ut ex dictis in conclusione patct. Quod enim 
extra nccessitatem hoc non valeat in habentibus peccata mortalia, 
est, quia debent ilia exprimi quoad speciem et nianerum, quantum 
fieri potest. To the list of theologians there extensively quoted in 
support of this opinion might be added many more who teach the 
same, as, for instance, Alexander de Ales, Sylvester, Burghaber, 
Dicastillo, Diana, Coninck, Voit, Reuter. 

There seems to be sufficient evidence, therefore, that the validity 
of a general accusation in the Sacrament of Penance is based upon 
good reasons and excellent authority. And now we ask: 

II. Is such a general accusation permissible? If our opinion 
were correct beyond all possible doubt, this question might at once 
be answered in the affirmative, assuming that there would be no 
objection from any quarter. The reasons given by us do not, how- 
ever, remove every doubt concerning the validity of a general accusa- 


tion ; even if they did, such a general accusation, except in case of 
necessity, would offend against a universal binding usage of the 
Church, and it would not correspond to the special character which 
our Lord wished to give to the holy Sacrament of Penance. For the 
theologians teach that the confession of all mortal sins committed 
after Baptism is a Divine commandment, because the Saviour in- 
tended to appoint the priest a judge to whose decision the sinner's 
fate should be absolutely subjected, not according to human discre- 
tion but according to the laws of Divine justice and mercy. Each 
mortal sin incurs in Divine justice the loss of heaven, and mercy 
decrees to restore to the sinner that which he lost. The priest, 
who in the Sacrament of Penance has the task of restoring, if 
possible, to the sinner this lost title to heaven, must be made aware 
of every single mortal sin, and therefore the sinner must make 
known to the confessor all his mortal sins. To describe a matter 
exactly, it is not enough to state the genus to which it belongs : 
there must be added the differentia specHica. The word sin gives 
only the general idea of an act contrary to the Divine command- 
ment. So does the expression Divine commandment give only the 
general idea of a commandment, and is specified only by the object 
of the commandment. The idea of sin, be it mortal or venial, finds 
its differentia speciftca in the relation of the sinful act to a certain 
object aimed at by the Divine commandment. Therefore the ex- 
pression, 'T have sinned," is not one which indicates the essentials 
of a sin. Whatever the Saviour has ordained in regard to the Sacra- 
ment of Penance must be present at every administration of the 
same, provided it is possible and the object of the commandment is 
not lacking. The object, however, namely the priest's judicial 
power over the sinner, as instituted by Christ, is present in the case 
of all sins, confessed or not confessed. Therefore a general accusa- 


tion, except in a case of necessity, is never sufficient for Confession, 
and there is always the obligation to make known to the confessor a 
specified sin. 

This opinion is, with few exceptions, universally shared by 
theologians. I will quote their testimony in detail, so that the reader 
may better know and appreciate their teaching. In the first place, 
there is Suarez {Disp. 23. Sect. i. n. 10.). He teaches, in regard to 
the validity of a general accusation, that it is not certain, and states 
immediately that, practically, it does not suffice. Illam confessionem 
. . . esse per se sufUcienteni . . . practice negandum est, propter in- 
certitudinem materiae. Dico ergo, licet homo absolute non teneatur 
species peccatorum venialium coniiteri, tamen, supposito quod vult 
confiteri, teneri ad exhihendam materiam omnino certain, si potest, 
et ideo debere aliquod peccatum veniale in particulari suo arbitrio 
coniiteri. No less emphatically Laymann teaches {Lib. 5. tr. 6. cap. 6. 
n. 14. ^#15) that one is obliged to make specified accusation. Ad ex- 
tremum moneo, admittendam non esse doctrinam Alensis p. 4, q. "jy. 
mem. i. a. i. et 2. Syl. v. Confessio i. q. 13. quod obligatus rationc 
statuti generaHs aut particularis ad confitcndiim, si mortale non 
habeat, satisfaciat venialia gcneratim coniitendo, videlicet dicendo se 
esse peccatorem, aut in miiltis deliquisse, saltern venialiter. Huic 
enim doctrinae communis bonorum Confessariorum praxis repugnat, 
qui extra casuni extremae necessitatis sacramentalem absolutionem 
poenitenti non conferunt, nisi is cerium aliquod, seu mortale seu 
veniale, peccatum confessus sit. Cum enim Sacramentum poeniten- 
tiae conferatur per modum judicialis absolutionis, apparet conveniens 
omnino esse, atque Sacrament i hnjus institutioneni postulare, ut 
aiferatur et subjiciatur materia certa, quo absolutionis judicium 
magis determinate ferri possit, accedente praesertim Ecclcsiae praxi 
atque Hdclium sensu. Quare licet aliquis nulla lege ad confiicndum 


venialia obligatus sit, posito tamen, quod sacramentaliter coniiteri et 
ahsolvi velit, debet aliquod peccatum in specie expUcarc. Dico ali- 
qiiod, seu unuin sit seu plura. Neque enim necesse est, et plerumque 
non consultum, omnia venialia secundum speciem ac numerum solli- 
citc colligere ad confessionem instituendam; sed hoc optimum con- 
silium its, qui a mortalibus abstinent, ut ea venialia, quae animos 
ipsorum magis gravant, et a quibus liberari desiderant, novo con- 
ccpto dolore et emendationis proposito, cum hiimilitate aperiant. 
Elsewhere {Cap. 8. n. 7. et 8.) he puts the case that very illiterate 
persons confess to having sinned, but are incapable of specify- 
ing a single, even venial, sin, though the confessor examines 
them. Of them he says: Respondeo cum, Suar. i. cit., Coninck, 
disp. 7. dub. I. nu. 6. et dicimus talem hominem vere attritum esse 
dc peccatis in genere, scd ob ruditatem et simplicitatem nullum in 
specie recordari auf explicare posse, etiam extra mortis articulum 
valide absolvi. Dico II. In praxi huic speculationi locum non esse. 
Ratio est, quia si poenitens qui non recordatur mortalis peccati, ni- 
hilominus sacramentaliter coniiteri cupiat^ is aliquod veniale in specie 
explicare debet, si possit, ut Sacramentum Poenitentiae congruentius 
et certius administretur, teste S. Thoma cit. quaest. 2. a. i. ad 2. 
Quod vero poenitens id prae stare possit^ praesertim a Confessario 
examinatus et adjutus, semper praesumendum est; cum n^mo tarn 
hebes esse videatur^ qui apprehendere et recordari nequeat, se in 
oratione negligentem fuisse, verbum otiosum aut noxium locutum 
etc. Etsi vero ponamus Confessarium ex circumstantiis judicare 
hominem tarn rudem esse, ut nihil speciatim coniiteri possit, tamen 
extra mortis periculum eum absolvere non debet; atque aperte illi 
dicere sacramentalem absolutionem non conferri, sed suae conscientia 
reUnqui; cum materiam Sacramenti, quamvis examinatus, edicere 
nolit. Prima, quia haec est praxis honorum Confessariorum. Secun- 


do, quia pericuhim est, ne talis homo, propter ruditatem suam, etiam 
vero de peccatis dolore careat, sed solum dicat se peccasse, quia 
audiznt omnes homines peccatores esse. Tertio, quia, si superna- 
turalem dolorem habet, jnstificari poterit ah occidtis peccatis suis per 
susceptionem Sacramenti Eucharistiae. Quarto, quia, si semel 
fateamur absolutionem extra extremam neccssitatem fidelihus con- 
ferri posse nullum peccatum in specie explicantihus, ea facilitate 
abutentur sacerdotes, contra sacramentalis confessionis legitimam 
institutionem- et usum. Such persons may also be found in gross 
ignorance regarding necessary articles of faith. La Croix {Lib. 6, 
part 2, n. 622) says upon the same point : Prohabilius videtur non 
esse licitujn extra casum necessitatis se in genere tantum acciisare de 
solis venialibus, v. g. dicendo; acciiso me de multis venialibus, quae 
per vitam feci, sed debere aliquod addi saltern in specie; turn quia 
est contra praxim Ecclesiae; turn etiam quia hoc Sacramentum est 
institutum per modum accusationis et judicii; haec autem, per se lo- 
quendo et ordinarie, fieri debent circa materiam saltern in specie 
certam et dcterminatam. Suar. d. 2^. s. i. n. 10. Aversa § quarto. 
Bosco d. y. s. 9. a nu. 115 Con. et Bonac. apud. Diana p. 3. t. 4. R. 66. 
contra Dicast. n. 761. Burgh, cent. 3. casii 41 et alios. What Croix 
says here about venial sins, applies also to mortal sins already for- 
given by Confession. 

Bonacina (Disp. 5. qu. 5. sect. 2 pimict. 2. § 3. diff. 2. n. 15 et 17) 
also requires the confession of a specified sin : Quaeres quinto, 
utrum qui non habet peccata mortalia, sed tantiimmodo veniaUa, 
satisfaciat in genere dicendo se venialiter peccasse. non explicata 
specie vel numero peccatorum venial ium: Respondent aliqui doctor es 
satisfere. Ego vero cum Suarez disp. 23. sect. i. num. 10. Conin- 
cho disp. 7. dub. i. n. 6. et aliis, existimo in praxis explicandum esse 
aliquod peccatum. Ratio est, quia, licet non teneamur coniiteri pec- 


cata venialia, tamen ex suppositione quod velimns coniitcri, tenemur 
materiam oninino certam exhiberc^ iit patet ex supra dictis de 
materia Sacramentorum; consequenter tenemur in particulari ali- 
quod genus sen speciem peccati venialis explicare, quoties loqui et 
illud in particulari cxprimere possumus, quamz'is non teneamiir ilia 
quoad numerum expHcarc. Connick anticipates the objection: Dices: 
Hinc sequeretur nos licite absolvere rudes quosdain homines, quo, 
cum ad confessionem' veniunt^ dicunt qiiidem in gcnere se peccasse, 
et de eo dolere, ac petere veniam et absolutionem, quantumcumque 
tamen a confessario exaniinantur, non possunt vel unins peccati 
venialis a se commissi in particulari recordari. Resp. (i) Si tales 
vere apprehendant se peccasse, et de eo attriti vere intendant con- 
Uteri, COS valide absolvi. Rcsp. (2) Communiter tamen, nisi subsit 
gravis aliqua necessitas, non debere absolvi; quia communiter non 
videntur apprehendere quid sit peccatum, aut se vere Deum offen- 
disse . . . Adde, omnino convenire^ ut, quantum iieri potest, hoc 
Sacramentum numquam conferatur, nisi coniitenti aliqua pec cata in 
particulari, quia ex confessione ilia generali confusa solum quaedam 
et vaga cognitio status pocnitentis habetur. Decet aufem judicem ex 
cognitione detcrminata ferre sententiam, quando necessitas ad aliud 
non cogit. 

Catalani {Part. 3. qu. 6. cap. 7. n. 9.) teaches the same and makes 
use of almost the same words as Bonacina : Petes, an qui sola veni- 
alia coniitetur, quia mortalia non commisit, suMcicnter se explicef in 
sacramentali confessione, si dicat: peccavi vcnialiter, non explicando 
numerum vel speciem ipsorum? Resp. quamvis non sit obligatio con- 
fitendi peccata venialia, ex suppositione tamen quod quis ea •velit 
subjicere clavibus, tenetur, si non quoad numerum, saltern quoad 
speciem ea exprimere, ut exhibeat materiam omnino certam; sic 
enim debet esse materia cujuscumque Sacramenti, quando fieri po- 


test; ergo^ si poterit species venialium experimere, debebit id efH- 
cere. He quotes Suarez, Coninck and Bonacina. 

Herinx {Part. 4. tr. 4. disp. 3. n. 6y) inclines to the opinion that 
a general accusation not only suffices for the validity of the Sacra- 
ment, but that it is permissible to put into practise ; however, he 
does not wish to press his opinion. He writes : Non est tamen, 
hoc facile practicandum; turn quia obstat usus communis^ turn quia 
diversi censcnt id non licere, etsi ego non videam ulhtm solidum 
fnndamentum. Potest proinde generalis clausula, qua poenitentes 
sub Unern confessionis se accusant de omnibus peccatis, ad hoc 
servire, ut^ si forte serins dolor se non extendat ad levia et quotidiana, 
quae poenitens jugiter ac velut ex quadam consuetudine confitetur, 
nihilominus valida sit absolutio, si adsit dolor aliquis de peccatis, se 
extendens saltern ad gravia aliquando commissa, in quibus etiam 
veriUcatur ista clausula. 

Herinx, by maintaining that there is no valid reason for the 
opinion that a general accusation be not permissible, goes too far, 
as is shown in what has been said above. He is correct, however, 
in remarking that in the accusation of small venial sins^ made from 
habit at every Confession, a true contrition may easily be lacking. 
This did not escape the wisdom of St. Alphonsus ; he not only draws 
the particular attention of the confessor to it, but he also gives the 
remedy for averting this evil. It will not be unprofitable to conclude 
this argument with the practical hints which this holy doctor has 
left us in this respect. We will quote them literally from his Praxis 
Confessarii {Lib. 6. n. 449. diib. i. n. 71.) : Cum sit communis sen- 
tentia^ grave esse peccatum et sacrilegium, absolutionetn recipere 
super levibus peccatis confessis sine vero dolore et proposito, nee 
suMcere dolorem^ de multitudine seu de numero immodico talium 
culparum, absque dolore de aliqua in particulari, prout tenuimus 


contra quorumdani opinioncm, facile mctucndum est hujusniodi 
confessiones sacrilegas esse^ ant saltern invalidas. Quare satagat 
confessarius non indistincte absolvere ejusmodi poenitentes; nam ci- 
amsi illi sint in bona Me, ipse tainen non poterit a sacrilegio ex- 
cusari, si absolutionem eis impertiatur, qui ad absoliitionem non satis 
dispositi judicari possunt. Propterea, si pocnitentem sine peccato 
vult absolvere, ant euni disponere curet ad dolendum pracsertim de 
aliqiia levi culpa, a qua ille magis horreat, aiit el insinuare ut con- 
Hteatur aliquod peccatuni grave vitac anteactae contra aliquod prac- 
ceptum {sufRcit hoc coniiteri in generali absque numero), ut habeat 
materiam certam absolutionis. And in another place he adds: Quot 
confessiones invalidac {quae in se vera sunt sacrilegia) Hunt ab Con- 
fessariorum hac in re negligentiam! 

The reasons upon which we based the discussion of our second 
question justifies the conclusion that a confessor who would follow 
a contrary practise would act with daring, and would be guilty of 
grievous fault. 

Joseph Aertnys^ C.SS.R. 


The priest Severinus, well acquainted with Prudentius, the bishop 
of another diocese, visits this diocese and requests jurisdiction to 
hear Confessions. Prudentius tells him : "Whenever you are in 
my diocese you have jurisdiction to hear Confessions, together with 
faculty to absolve from cases reserved to the bishop." Two years 
after this Prudentius dies. Severinus now asks his confessor: i. 
Does the jurisdiction which Prudentius gave me continue until a 
new bishop takes office, and just when will it terminate? 2. While 
Prudentius still lived a change was made in reserved cases ; does my 
faculty continue in their respect? 3. Upon one occasion I received 
there jurisdiction to hear the Confessions of nuns; was I, in their 
case, permitted to exercise authority in reserved cases? 

The answer is not difficult. Ad. i Prudentius had said: "When- 
ever in my diocese," etc. It may be claimed that, as Prudentius is 
dead and the diocese is no longer his, the jurisdiction was given by 
Prudentius only for the duration of his administration. This in- 
terpretation appears artificial and not justified. Prudentius uses the 
expression iny diocese instead of mentioning the name of the diocese, 
and he would have expressed himself more definitely if he meant 
to authorize Severinus only for the period of his administration. It 
is therefore to be held that the bishop did not restrict the jurisdiction 
to the time of his own life, nor to his episcopal administration. The 
granting of the general jurisdiction is a gratia facta preshytero, 
which even re integra, i. e., if the priest during the administration of 
his friend had not once made use of it, is not affected in its duration 
by the death of the awarding bishop : arg. c. 36^ in VI., 3, 4 : hujus- 



modi concessio (quani, cum spccialem gratiam continent, decct esse 
mansuram) non expirat etiam re integra per ohitum concedentis. 

Severinus may accordingly continue to make use of his jurisdic- 
tion, not only during the vacancy, but even later, unless, of course, 
the new bishop revokes all faculties granted by his predecessor. 
Propriety requires, however, that Severinus should acquaint the new 
bishop with the powers granted to him, and request confirmation of 
the same. 

Ad. 2. This question may also be answered in the affirmative, for 
the faculty to absolve from reserved cases was not granted in a 
restricted sense, regarding only certain reserved cases, or the 
reserved cases then prevailing, but in a general sense, and there is no 
reason for restriction to the reserved cases which were in force 
in the time of Prudentius: Arg. reg. jur. 15, in VI.: odia restringi 
et favores convenit ampHari. Whether the reserved cases were 
lessened or increased by Prudentius, Severinus enjoys in this re- 
spect unlimited jurisdiction. If, however, the new bishop has created 
new reserved cases, there is therein contained a silent revocation of 
the general jurisdiction formerly granted to confessors for these 
cases, and Severinus cannot thereafter absolve from these new re- 
served cases, no more than the priests of the bishop's own diocese, 
without explicit new delegation. 

Ad. 3. What has just been said about the general validity of the 
faculty to absolve from reserved cases finds application also in this 

Severinus could pro casu absolve also nuns, not only from not 
reserved, but also from reserved sins. 

Dr. Rudolf R. v. Scherer. 


Father Caius, about to celebrate Mass, was in doubt if, perhaps, 
he had not grievously sinned by voluntary consent to a certain 
thought. While not positive of the fault, he was neither certain of the 
contrary. He decided to celebrate, because, according to the opinion 
of many theologians, the obligation to confess in such case is not 
certain. Neither did he feel obliged to awaken perfect contrition, 
since he reasoned that positive contrition cannot be felt about a doubt- 
ful matter. With trepidation he read subsequently in Elbel (Part 
II. n. i66, p. 65 of the new edition) that this great theologian and 
probabilist teaches that the view of confession being necessary in 
such a case should certainly be adhered to omnimodis sectanda. He 
decided to submit the question to his confessor. He read also Elbel 's 
opinion that a priest need not abstain from celebration if in doubt 
whether he had taken a drink of water before or after midnight. 
In the following night Father Caius awakened and, feeling great 
thirst, he drank some water, without bothering about the time, and 
said Mass the following morning, not, however, without some con- 
cern. He submits both matters to his confessor. What must the 
latter reply? 

I. Concerning the first point, we may say that it seems certain 
to present-day moralists that in this case, before the reception of the 
holy Communion, or before celebration, there is no obligation to con- 
fess. Thus Ballerini, Lehmkuhl, Hilarius and others (even St. 
Alphonsus maintains this view, at least in his work Homo Apos- 
toUciLS, tr. 15. n. 34. and tr. 16. n. 31, where he reverses the opinion 
stated in his larger work, n. 475). I am not of opinion that the 



speculative doubt of commission or non-commission of a mortal sin 
can generally (communiter) by the attending circumstances be re- 
solved into certainty one way or the other. j\Iy pastoral experience 
has shown that such a doubt under many circumstances may remain 
indissoluble, and under such condition there exists no strict obliga- 
tion to confess. The Council of Trent obliges to Confession only 
those who are conscious of mortal sin ; the doubter, however, is not 
conscious of mortal sin. Elbel, otherwise a pronounced probabilist, 
is here, after citing that this argument is accepted by many theolo- 
gians, not consistent. The cause of this inconstancy is the fact 
that Elbel leaves almost entirely out of consideration the safety 
which the act of perfect contrition affords, and upon which he, like 
many other moralists of his time, does not venture to rely. To 
arouse this act is, of course, of obligation, unless in the case of im- 
perfect contrition Confession is made, because there is to be avoided 
the danger of receiving the Most Blessed Sacrament in a manner 
that its effects would be lost. It would, no doubt, be most deplor- 
able if a priest were not conscious, with moral certainty, of having 
perfect contrition, for there is hardly a subject about which he 
should instruct the people more frequently and impressively than the 
act of the love of God and the contrition proceeding from it. 
Through this act is given the certainty of the state of grace. If 
any doubt should remain, even in one well informed, I agree with 
Lehmkuhl (/. n. 150), w^ho says that there is no obligation to seek 
further certainty (after having done the best one could and what was 
considered necessary) . I should not even advise the priest to confess, 
at least not one who confesses every week or fortnight, since the 
advice to confess doubtful sins, while proper in the instance of the 
laity who easily deceive themselves in regard to their sins, is less in 
place for the well-informed priest who celebrates daily and confesses 


regularly within the stated times. It may be asked : Is it possible 
to awaken certain contrition about an uncertain sin? It may be 
admitted that it cannot be done because contrition must contain the 
consciousness of committed sin ; but the obligation to awaken the act 
of contrition, or at least the perfect act of charity which virtually 
includes contrition, remains, because without moral certainty of 
being in the state of grace one must not approach holy Communion. 
He who makes an act of perfect love of God, and by reason of this 
love repents of all previous sins he may have committed, has surely 
complied with this obligation. 

2. As concerns the second point, the drinking of water. Father 
Caius did not correctly, or at least not fully, comprehend the teaching 
of Elbel (m. 167), to which to-day, as in Elbel's time, the moralists 
satis communiter adhere. This teacher says that when in doubt 
whether he ate or drank before or after midnight, one is not 
obliged, for this reason, to abstain from holy Communion ; it is not 
positive that he has not been fasting, therefore reception of the Most 
Blessed Sacrament is not prohibited to him. It is nowhere asserted. 
as Elbel rightly observes, that the Church wishes her command- 
ment be complied with so rigidly, that even those who doubt whether 
their fast has not been broken should deny themselves holy Com- 
munion. Father Caius, however, has overlooked what Elbel has 
to say, in conclusion, about the dubium antecedens. It is not per- 
missible to cause such a doubt by voluntary action. It is the quite 
elementary condition of probabilism that we have done what we 
ought to have done, or what we could, in order to avoid uncertainty. 
We are obliged to take care that we keep the Commandments, and 
that we do not transgress their prohibitions. In the Commandment 
and prohibition, of which there is question here, is conveyed the 
injunction that we must avoid any uncertainty, and not cause it to 


exist, as to whether we are fasting from midnight or not. He, 
therefore, who drinks something, and purposely refuses to ascertain 
what time it is, cannot avail himself of the probabilistic principle. 
By receiving the Blessed Sacrament he would confirm his grievously 
sinful indifference as to whether the Commandment of the Church 
in this important matter is observed or not. If Father Caius had 
in his simplicity intended to follow the probabilistic principle, then 
he has subjectively not sinned ; in reality, however, this application 
of the principle is not allowed. 

If, in this case, the celebration is imperatively necessary, and if 
Father Caius has foreseen the necessity, he will have to proceed like 
one conscious of a grievous sin. 



By oversight the Mass wine had been put into a bottle half filled 
with water, and the mixture was used for holy Mass by two priests 
who celebrated at the same time. When the unfortunate mistake was 
discovered one priest was at holy Communion, and had just con- 
sumed the wine mixed with water ; the other priest, however, with- 
out having noticed the state of facts, had finished holy Mass and 
returned to the sacristy. 

Question: What must these tv/o priests do, in order to comply, to 
their best ability, with the Divine and ecclesiastical law of the 
integrity of the holy Sacrifice of the Mass? 

1. It is to be remarked, first of all, that the mixture here spoken 
of, water and wine, is beyond all doubt a wholly invalid materia 
consecrationis. The opinion of some theologians that the con- 
secrating material may be one-third water and two-thirds wine is 
rightly restricted only to the case si vinum sit generosum {St. Alph. 
I. VI. n. 210), and for security's sake the rule is made consultum 
est, . . . ut Sacerdos in calice oiferendo non excedat octo vel decern 
guftas aquae. Marc. n. 1524. 

2. As regards the priest who has partaken of the invalidly con- 
secrated materia, the rubic of the Missal prescribes precisely what 
he has to do. According to Ruhr. Tit. IV. de defectu vini n. 5, he 
must, if possible, cause both substances to be brought, host and 
pure wine, then mentaliter offer and consecrate both {incipiendo 
"qui pridic," etc.), and finally consume both and conclude holy 
Mass. In this case the holy Sacrifice is complete and the obligation 
of the stipend is complied with. (A complete exposition of this 
rubic is found in the splendid work of Benedict XIV., De Sacro- 
scncto Missae SacriUcio, lib. III. cap. XV.) 



3. If, on account of a much smaller quantity of water, the materia 
may be considered as doubtful, then both substances must neverthe- 
less be duplicated, but consecrated only conditionally : sub condi- 
tione; si prior materia non fuerit consecrata (according to St. Al- 
phonsiis I. VI. n. 206, but opposed by the opinion of other theo- 
logians), in order that, in case the former consecration was valid, 
there is not committed an iteratio Missae, or a sacrificium truncatum. 

4. For the other priest, who before discovery had already returned 
to the sacristy, the rubric contains no instruction, and most authori- 
ties who speak the defectn vini, leave him without counsel. He re- 
members in his perplexity the very probable opinion of theologians 
that the priest, after his return to the sacristy, if he has not taken off 
the sacred vestments, may consume any fragments of the Sacred 
Host consecrated at the just concluded sacrifice. {St. Alph. i. VI. 
n. 251) and the precept that, if the celebrating priest, after the 
consecration of one species should faint or die, the holy Sacrifice 
should even after interruption of about an hour be continued and 
finished by consecration of the second species (St. Alph. i. VI. n. 
355). He concludes, therefore, that in his case the act of sacrifice 
was not concluded so absolutely that he might not return at once to 
the altar, and by consecration of proper species validate the sacrifice, 
provided it can be done without giving scandal to the people. 

This reasoning, however, is incorrect. Cardinal Gousset states: 
The priest who becomes aware of the essential faultiness of the 
sacramental materia after he has left the altar, must not return to the 
same in order to repeat the consecration (//. vol. n. 175). Scavini 
asserts the same (lib. III. n. 177) : Si Sacerdos jam ad sacristiam 
reversus cognoscat aquam pro vino consecrasse, non amplius debet 
defectum supplere; quia Missa jam absoluta est. Into dicunt, si 
sacerdos defectum cognovit post itltimam benedictionem, nihil sup- 


plendum; secus magis vidcretiir itc ratio Missae, quam reparatio de- 
fectus. Ita antiquum Missale Romanum Venetiis inpressum 1557. 
The priest in our case has therefore communicated vaHdly, but the 
Mass, on account of the one invalid materia, was invahd as a sac- 
rifice, juxta sententiam communiorem et probabiliorum (St. Alph. 
I. V. n. 306), whence resuhs for him the obhgation of offering 
another valid holy Mass for the stipend received for this particular 

John Schwienbacher^ C.SS.R. 


The Ritual provides the rite by which several children or adults 
may be baptized at one time. It contains, however, no explicit in- 
struction for the case that Extreme Unction is to be administered 
simultaneously to two or more patients, occupying one and the same 
room, a case which sometimes occurs in hospitals and during epi- 
demics. The renowned author of the Sacrae Liturgicae Praxis, 
De Herdt, treats this case in Vol. I. (Pars. VL No. 24. II.) in his 
work, and Hartmann, in his Repertorinm Rituum (§186, n. 3) 
states : "If several persons at the same time are to receive Extreme 
Unction, all prayers without accompanying ceremonies are to be 
spoken in the plurality, but those to Avhich are joined ceremonies are 
to be said individually." 

In justification of this procedure De Herdt refers to the baptismal 
rite, and claims that what the Ritual allows in administering Baptism 
to several at the same time, cannot be unallowable in administering 
Extreme Unction, and here also should the rule apply : ut preces, 
quae cum actionihus non conjunguntur, semel tantum dicantur; 
actiones vero cum precibus adjunctis super singulis repetantur, this 
all the more because a continued repetition of the long prayers would 
not only be a hard task for the priest, but also irritating to the 
patients in the room. About changing into the plural form of prayers 
to be said only once De Herdt remarks : Saltern si haec mutatio com- 
mode fieri possit, aliter singulariter dicta de unoquoque seorsum 
sumpta intelliguntur. 

Concerning the various ceremonies, or actions, to which De Herdt 
no further refers, the prescribed anointings are, of course, to be 



given each patient separately. Besides these the Ritual for Extreme 
Unction prescribes only three other actioncs: i. The presenting of 
the crucifix to be devoutly kissed by the patient : Aegroto Crucem pie 
deosculandam porigit (Rit. Rom.). Wherever so prescribed during 
the ceremony it must be handed to each patient separately. 2. The 
blessings over the patient, accompanying certain prayers and be- 
stowed with the priest's right hand (in some dioceses with the cruci- 
fix). These blessings may be given, according to the universal usage 
of the Church, without doubt in the plural form sub wio to all re- 
cipients simultaneously. 3. Finally, the Ritual prescribes the laying 
on of hands. Such laying on of hands is also prescribed in the bap- 
tismal rite, particularly in the one for the Baptism of adults. For 
the baptismal rite the Roman Ritual ordains explicitly : Sacer- 
dos imponit manum super Electmn, vel^ si sint plures, super singulos. 
— et oratio dicatur in nmnero plurali; and again : si plures fuerint, 
imponat manum super capita singulorum, A dicit eumdem Exorcis- 
mum in mimero multitudinis , et gcnere suo. If we follow the bap- 
tismal rite as guidance for our subject, then in Extreme Unction the 
prescribed imposition of hands is to be made super singulos, super 
capita singulorum, but the accompanying prayers are to be said in 
numero plurali just once, over all. Since, however, the first imposi- 
tion of hands stands in close relation to the sacramental anointing 
and form, and the accompanying prayer, extinguatiir in te, etc., 
being very brief, it would recommend itself to repeat the prayer 
for each individual patient. 

All other prayers of Extreme Unction may be said once, in the 
plurality, if several patients receive it at the same time, and thus the 
sacred function will be greatly simplified. This applies all the more 
f^ the prayers said while giving holy Communion to the sick, if 
this Sacrament is administered at the same time. 



Regarding the Benedictio Generalis in arficulo mortis S. Bened. 
XIV. praescripta, usually bestowed after Extreme Unction, the fol- 
lowing decision of the S. Cong. Indulg. of July 10, 1884, "lay serve 
for guidance: Ad dubiunt: Utruni in Benedictione apostolica cum in- 
dulgentia plenaria in articulo mortis impertienda tolerari possit 
praxis, qua semel in phirali numero et propria genere adrnonentivr 
insimul plures moribundi de his, quae Benedict. XIV. (C. Pia 
Mater) praemittenda praescribit, et dicuntur preces et orationes 
eadem Constitutione designatae, ipsa vera Benedictionis formula, 
quae incipit: Dominus N. J. Ch. etc. usque ad verba: tibi concede in 
Nomine Patris etc. Amen — singulariter singulis pronunciatur? re- 
spondendum censuit: Affirmative. According to this decision, there- 
fore, the exhortations and prayers, but not the actual absolution: 
Dominus noster Jesus Christus, Filius Dei vivi, etc., may be said 
once for several patients, while the absolution itself, to be lawful and 
valid, must be repeated over each individual, as seems plain from 
the wording and sense of above decision. 

John Schwienbacher, C.SS.R, 


The question about reconsecration of an altare portatile is fre- 
quently brought up. It has often been laid before the S. Cong. 
Rituum and apparently contradictory answers have been given. 
This is due probably to the fact that the question was accompanied 
by special circumstances, which, while influencing the answer of 
the Congregation, were not mentioned in the text of the decision. 
De Herdt's Sacrae Liturgiae Praxis, says about it {Tom. i, p. 243, § 
177) : Si sepulchrum sit i^itegrum et obseratae s. reliquiae, sed de- 
letum sigillum episcapale super sepulchrum cera hispanica im- 
pressum; tunc juxta decretum 23. Maj. 1846 altare portatile nova 
indiget consecratione, quia nan constat de reliquiarum identitate ct 
authenticitate : sed juxta decretum 11. Martii 1837 in tali altari 
cclehrari potest, dummodo lapis consecratus sen altare portatile sit 
integrum; ct juxta decretum 23. Sept. 1848 altare portatile, cujus 
fractiun est sigillum, vel cujus non existit sigillum, quod reliquiis in 
sepulchro inclusis apponitur, non amittit consecrationcm, nisi frac- 
tum sit sepulchrum, vel ejus operculum, aut si hoc amotum fuerit. 
Ad intelligenda haec decreta, quae contrari videntur, considerandum 
est sigillutn episcapale non esse quid essentiale consecrationis altaris 
portatilis, uti etiani patet ex pontiiicali, in quo de altaris portatilis 
consecratione neque mentione tit sigilli episcopalis sepulchro appo- 
nendi: ita ut sigillum tantummodo iit signum sen testimonium au- 
thenticitatis reliquiarum factaeque consecrationis altaris considerari 
debet. Proinde altare portatile cujus sigillum super sepulchrum 
hispanica cera impressum non existit, seu deletum est, consecra- 
tioncm non amittit, nisi fractum sit sepulchrum vel ejus operculum 



seu parvus ille lapis^ qui claudit rcpositorium reUquiarum, aut etiam 
solumrnodo si hoc operculum amotum fuerit; neque nova indiget 
consecratione, mode ex continuo usii vcl aJiter certo constct, altare 
debite esse consecratum. Si autem sigillum episcopate deletum sit, 
et ex continuo usu vel aliter certo non constct, altare debite esse con- 
secratum, ut si altare extra usum fuerit, a laicis scrvatum etc., nova 
indiget consecratione, licet etiam s. reliquiae observatae inveniantur, 
juxta decretum citatum 23. Maji 1846, quia non constat dc reUquia- 
rum- identitate ct authenticitatc, nee consequenter de altaris consecra- 

The decision of May 23, 1846, above referred to, is quite similar to 
the one of February 28, 1880, as above reprinted. But even in this 
case, the Congregation does not maintain the essential necessity of the 
episcopal seal, for in the same inquiry: dubium II utrum sepulchro 
apponi possit et debeat sigillum Episcopate f it answers : apponi 
posse: i. e., therefore, if the stone is really consecrated, the seal may 
or may not be added afterwards ; in each case it is allowed to use the 

The noteworthy point of the decision of February 28, 1880, lies 
in the words: nisi constet (Altaria) rite fuisse consecrata. This 
proof requires only a certitudo moralis, namely, that the altar-stone 
had always been considered consecrated, has always been in use, and 
that there is no visible sign of an opening of the locking-stone 
(opercidum) . Compare with this the wording of the above cited 
decision of March 11, 1837. Dub. II. An interdicenda sunt Altaria 
si existat sepulchrum absque sigillo? Dub. Ill: an id saltern ex- 
equendum quando apparet sepulchrum sed nullum extat oppositi 
sigilli vestigium? — Resp. Dummodo lapis consecratus seu altare por- 
tatile integrum sit, in eo celebrari potest. 

Let us consider the matter in praxi. The locking of the altar- 


stones takes place at the consecration, and the little stone cover is 
firmly cemented. Then these consecrated stones are placed in re- 
serve, and they are only sealed when the bishop causes them to be 
distributed. The seal is simply placed upon the stone by someone 
in the episcopal chancery, to show which bishop has performed the 
consecration. It is well known that sealing wax falls easily off the 
hard stone. An awkward pressvire, the carelessness of a sexton 
while decorating the altar, sufiices to knock off the brittle seal, 
especially when not placed in an appropriate depression, but on the 
surface of the stone. 

Such decisions of the S. Congrcgatio cause considerable anxiety 
to pastors, and if the seal on the portable altar is broken or entirely 
gone, they think the stone must be immediately dispatched to the 
bishop for reconsecration, when in fact it has been in constant use 
for a long time, and has been examined in many visitations. Hence 
the rule is to examine carefully the locking-stone and its cementing, 
and if everything there is found solid and in place, there is no need 
to be anxious and troubled about presence or absence of the seal. 

F. V. Oer. 


Fabian harbors hatt'^d towards Sebastian and seeks an opportunity 
to revenge himself upon him. This opportunity offers itself when 
he discovers that the latter has undervalued dutiable goods, which 
he imports, and so defrauds the Customs. Fabian informs the 
authorities, and in consequence Sebastian is caught in the act and 
sentenced to the usual fine, which, of course, he must pay. 

Question. — Has Fabian sinned against Sebastian, against justice, 
and is he obliged to make restitution? 

Answer. — Fabian has sinned grievously against the love of the 
neighbor, because his denunciation was inspired by hatred, but not 
against justice, and, therefore, he is not bound to make restitution 
(compensatio) , because the informer has violated no strict right of 
the other. In consideration of the public welfare everyone has the 
right, though not the duty, to report for punishment a person who 
commits a punishable act. Evidently he would not have acted un- 
justly if his hatred of Sebastian is left out of consideration ; the 
motive, or interior intention, cannot change an3^hing in this respect ; 
it cannot make wrong something that of itself is right and lawful. 




Bertha comes to Confession in preparation for her marriage and 
acknowledges that she is pregnant by a third party, the intended 
husband knowing nothing of the fact. May she enter the married 
state without reveahng this to the bridegroom? 

In regard to marriage, distinction is made between such defects and 
circumstances that violate the bridegroom's vested rights, and such 
that do not interfere with his actual rights, though they render the 
marriage less desirable. To the latter belong poverty, inferior posi- 
tion, lack of beauty, loss of virginity, and the like. As regards these 
things the bride must not positively deceive the bridegroom by 
lying or dissimulation, but neither is she obliged in justice to make 
them known, not even if expressly asked about them. 

As regards the corruptio, St. Alphonsus teaches positively that if 
the bridegroom makes inquiries about it : potest dissinmlare aequi- 
voce respondcndo ; tunc enim non fingit, sed occultat vitiuni occultum. 
L. VII. 864. It is different with defects which detract from the bride- 
groom's right, as do, for instance, infamy, sexual disease, etc. In 
this class of defects must be included pregnancy by a third party. 
Lacroix confirms this explicitly (L. VI. 183). A sin against justice 
is committed by those who sell corrupted merchandise as perfect, 
particularly if the defect is concealed. Even if the bride has the 
firm intention to make compensation to the bridegroom for the 
damage resulting by the marriage (alendi prolem die nam), it is a 
question whether she will be capable of doing so. The fact that a 
wife who gives birth to a child by adultery is not obliged to make her 



husband aware of the fact, has no relation with our case. There is 
an indissolubly contracted marriage, quoad vinculum, and most de- 
plorable consequences would result for the whole family from such 
revelation, while here a bride is only preparing to contract matrimony 
and from the revelation she alone would be at a disadvantage, and in 
a collision of the law the right of the innocent prevails over that of 
the guilty. It follows that Bertha must make known her condition 
to the intended husband, as also St. Alphonsus teaches (L. VII. n. 
865 excepitur i). In case she is not aware of this obligation, the 
confessor must instruct her, if she herself asks for information ; 
is she bona fide and may be expected to obey, she is to be so in- 
structed, also if she does not ask. If, however, the confessor has 
good reason to suppose that his direction will be fruitless, he had 
better keep silent and leave her bona Ude. 

What is to be done if, as in our case, the woman makes her Con- 
fession directly before the marriage ? And if great danger is present 
that through such a revelation the marriage would even at the last 
moment be prevented to her public disgrace? Here it is necessary 
to discriminate. It is possible that the bridegroom will not become 
aware that the child has someone else for father. If this may be 
presumed, the bride cannot be obliged by refusal of absolution to 
incur great disgrace by revealing the truth, provided she is of the 
firm intention to do all in her power to avoid any injury to husband 
and legitimate children. To such an extraordinary step, as the 
revealing of the true situation, which would require a truly heroic 
act, Bertha cannot be obliged. The loss of honor and good name 
predominate, because of higher degree than a possible harm to the 
husband's fortune. If, however, it is probable, or even certain, that 
the bridegroom wil learn the true state of affairs, for instance, by 
the early time of the birth, then I should again advise to discriminate 


according to the impression which the bride's deception is Hkely to 
make upon the man. Possibly it may be supposed in good reason that 
the husband will accept the inevitable and forgive. Presuming this 
she may even in such case keep her silence ; not, however, if the de- 
ception, as really must be feared, will result in a very unhappy 
marriage, or if it must even be expected that the husband will have 
recourse to the courts and institute proceedings for separation, or 
even divorce, on this ground. In this case the evil consequences 
are of greater account than the injury to her honor, and she must 
withdraw even at the last moment. 

George Freund_, C.SS.R. 




It is known that Pope Benedict XIV., in his constitution Sacra- 
mentum Poenitentiae, of 1741, has prohibited all priests under penalty 
of excommunication, specially reserved to the Pope, and nullity of 
the absolution given, to hear the Confession of and absolve the com- 
plex in peccato turpi (except in case of most urgent necessity). The 
decree ordains : Omnibus et singulis Sacerdotibus tam saecularibus 
quam regnlaribus cujuscunque ordinis et dignitatis, tametsi alioquin 
ad confcssiones excipiendas approbatis et quovis privilegio et in- 
dulto, etiam speciali expressione et specialissima nota, auctoritate 
Apostolica et nostrae potestatis plenitudine interdicimus et pro- 
hibemus, ne aliquis eorum extra casum extremae necessitatis, nimi- 
rum in ipsius mortis articulo, et deUciente tunc quocunque alio sacer- 
dote, qui confessarii munus obire possit, confessionem sacramentalem 
personae complicis in peccato turpi atqiie inhonesto contra sextum 
Decalogi praeceptum commisso excipere audeat, sublata propterea illi 
ipso jure quacunque jurisdictione ad qualemcunque personam ah hu- 
jusmodi culpa absolvendam, adeo quidem, ut absoluiio, si quam im- 
pertierit, nulla atque irrita omnino sit; et nihilominus se quis con- 
fessarius secus facere ausus fuerit, majoris quoque excommunica- 
tionis poenam, a qua absolvendi potestatem nobis solis, nostrisque 
sucessoribus duntaxat rescrvamus ipso facto incurrat. 

Plain and circumspect as this papal definition is, it yet leaves room 
for the question whether it affects a priest who had failed with his 
penitent before ordination. Reliable and prominent moralists, e. g. 



Gury, Casus Consc. {p. 11. n. 639), Scavini (Theol. Mor. lib. III. 
n. 485), Prtiner {Handbook of Moral Theology, p. 471), and Lehm- 
kuhl {Theol. Mor. vol. II. p. 658) answer this question emphatically 
in the affirmative. The latter writes : Contmuni opinione et ex iinc 
legis non videtur rcquiri, ut peccatum commissum fuerit post sacer- 
dotimn susccptmn. Et revera si verba sumuntur, ut sonant, distinc- 
tio inter peccata post sacerdotium et ante sacerdotium commissa iieri 
posse non videtur. 

Gury illustrates this view by the following concrete case : The 
student Liborius had sinned with Flavia contra sextum. After he 
had become priest, poenitcntia serio peracta, she appeared in his con- 
fessional and declared that until now she has not confessed this sin 
owing to her shame, and that she could not make up her mind to 
confess it to anyone else. After some reflection Liborius consents 
to hear Flavia's Confession and absolves her, because he reasons that 
the sin committed with Flavia before ordination is not subject to the 
reservation. Did Liborius decide and act correctly ? No, says Gury, 
for through the reception of Holy Orders the bond of complicity is 
not dissolved and Liborius is after as before the ordination still 
complex peccati, and as such in respect to the sin committed with 
Flavia deprived of the power of absolution. 

This view the writer was for a long while inclined to take. When 
recently, however, due to a discussion of this matter, he subjected 
both the Benedictine Constitution, and the declaration of February 
8, 1745, to a closer inspection, he thought to find in its wording and 
purpose reasons calculated to justify the opposite view. The learned 
Pope, who carefully weighed his words, spoke of sacrilegious priests, 
Sacrilegi quidani qui complicem in pec cat turpi absolvere audeant, 
and therefore he manifestly had in view only those who not before 
but after Holy Orders, as persons consecrated to God, sinned, be- 


cause those who transgress contra sex turn before ordination commit 
not a qualified sacrilegious sin, though of course a grievous sin 
against chastity, and therefore they cannot be designated sacrilegi. 
Though it is no doubt true that through Holy Orders the bond of com- 
plicity is not dissolved, and that the Pope in his constitution did not 
expressly distinguish between peccata post and peccata ante sacer- 
dotiuni commissa, and thus appears to have reserved the one as well 
as the other, still it is also true, because by the use of the word 
Sacrilegi tacitly (implicit e) expressed, that the Pope did not aim at 
the simple, but at the sacrilegious complicity, at the sin committed 
sacrilegiously after reception of Holy Orders, and intended to with- 
draw power of absolution from the sacrilegious priest. This view 
is supported by the consideration that between a simple and sac- 
rilegious sin of this kind there is considerable difference and the 
former is in culpability far surpassed by the latter. It would be 
unfair if, notwithstanding the vast difference, one sin should be 
punished in the same degree as the other. It may then be assumed, 
with good reason that the Pope wished to withdraw the sacrilegious 
rather than a simple complicity peccato turpi from the faculty of 
the concerned priest. 

This milder view receives important support also from the aim of 
this constitution. The learned Pope issued it, partly to preserve the 
holy tribunal of Penance from desecration, and partly in order to 
protect the priest and souls confided to his care against temptation. 
Magnoperc cupientcs a sacerdotalis judicii ct sacri tribunalis sancti- 
tate oinnem turpitudinis occasionem et sacramcntonim contemptum 
et Ecclesiae injiiriam longc suhmovere et tarn exitiosa hujusmodi 
mala prorsus eliminare, et quantum in Dojiiino possumus, animarum 
pericidis occurrere. 

The holy Sacrament of Penance would, no doubt, be exposed to 


the greatest danger of desecration : it might even become the direct 
cause of downfall, if priests in such cases could absolve their partner 
in sin. This peril is either not at all or only remotely present if a 
confessor absolves a person from a sin contra sextum which he had 
committed with her before ordination, especially if, as is to be 
assumed, he has done sincere penance before entering the priestly 
state. Thus the basis and aim of the law, and therewith the law itself, 
passes out of the case, and he may validly absolve the complex pcc- 
cati of this particular sin. 

In the case cited by Gury, Liborius could therefore validly absolve 
Flavia: (i) because he was not complex sacrilegus; (2) because for 
him and Flavia a danger for the repetition of the sin did either not 
at all, or only remotely, exist; and (3) because, moreover, in this 
case the principle odia restringi convenit demands recognition. 

Nevertheless, it hardly needs special mention that, for reasons 
of delicacy and propriety, it would be at least unbecoming for a 
person to go to Confession to a priest who, in his earlier years and 
in the lay state, had failed with her. 

B. ScHMiP, O.S.B. 


St. Thomas shows (2. 2. q. 36. a. 4.) not only the character of envy 
as capital sin, but also how the Uliae invidiae: susurratio, detractio, 
cxultatio in adversis proxiini, aiflictio in prosperis proximi, odium, 
develop therefrom. Furthermore, he refutes the objection against 
classification of this sin as capital sin, as also the objection that the 
above-mentioned exultatio and aMictio coincide with envy; respect- 
ing the exidtatio, he denies it entirely ; respecting the aMictio, he 
admits it under one point of view, while under another he denies it 
This may suffice as regards envy as capital sin. 

Our task here is to ascertain whether envy is ex genere suo pecca- 
tum mortale, and if so, whether ex toto genere. 

The answer to the first question is simple, if the nature of envy is 
precisely determined. Not infrequently penitents lack this knowl- 
edge, and they accuse themselves of envy, although they did either 
not sin at all, or sinned (grievously or lightly), but not through 
envy. There are acts which have one or two characteristics in com- 
mon with envy. One characteristic, the tristitia de bono proximi has, 
in common with envy, the so-called acmulatio, or zelus^ when some- 
one is sad at his neighbor's possession, because he, too, would like to 
possess, not in eodem individuo, but in eadem specie vel m^ensura. 
If the acmidatio has reference to natural or supernatural mental 
qualities, it is quite praiseworthy; if to temporal advantages, it is 
also of itself laudable, or at least permissible, but it becomes sinful 
if the desire is in any way inordinate; nevertheless, it has not even 
in this case the character of envy. For this there would be required 
the desire that the neighbor might not possess the benefit. Even this 



wish is not the nota specifica of envy. Such desire is present also in 
other kinds of tristitia be bono proximi. For instance, in the 
tristitia, which is a result of fear, if someone, for instance, mourns 
over a neighbor's possession because he fears, either for himself or 
for others, evil consequences from it, be they deserved or unde- 
served. In the former case the tristitia is faulty, not so in the latter, 
though the fear which produces it may be inordinate, for instance, 
if there is no sufficient reason for suspecting that the neighbor will 
misuse his power in order to harm us or others. In no case has this 
tristitia the character of envy. Again, the desire that the neighbor 
might not obtain, or not possess, something of value is connected 
with that tristitia which someone entertains because he considers the 
neighbor unworthy of the benefit in question. This tristitia is called 
indignatio, or nemesis. In regard the bona honcsta, ex quibus aliquis 
Justus efhcitur, so St. Thomas teaches (/. c. a. 2.), this tristitia can- 
not occur at all ; for the gratia justificationis is not obtained except 
by proper preparation, if otherwise such preparation is possible 
(comp. Cone. Trid. sess. 6. de jiistif. cap. 5.). It is only possible 
de divitiis ct de (aliis) talibus, quae possunt provenire dignis et in- 
dignis (S. Thoni. I. e.), and is sinful if directed against Divine 
Providence, which allows the unworthy to have such goods either 
ad eorum eorreetionem, in order to incite them to penance and con- 
version, or ad eorum damnationem, that, if they do not become 
converted and thus incur damnation, they will be rewarded then for 
the good that they have done. It is sinful also if it proceeds from a 
contempt of the eternal goods which God has reserved for his faith- 
ful {ps. 36. I.). But neither in the one nor in the other case has it 
the character of envy. 

Finally, the desire that the neighbor may not obtain, or possess, 
a benefit, is present in the tristitia, which is sad at the neighbor's 


possession, in quantum proximo bonum est, and this tristitia is 
odium inimicitiae, just like the gaudium and desidcrium circa malum 
proximi ut ipsi malum est, it results from envy {S. Thorn. I. c. 8, 
q. 34. a. 6.), is nearest related to it, yet not envy itself. 

Although the envious does not grieve over a possession of the 
neighbor, because it is an advantage for the latter, still envy is 
directly contra caritatum (proximi), cujus est gaudere de bono 
proximi, because the envious only grieves over the neighbor's 
possession and would like to see him deprived of it, quod sit diminu- 
tivem propriac excellentiae. The diminutio propriae excellentia per 
bonum proximi is in itself never a just reason to grieve over the 
possession of the neighbor and to wish that he might not have the 
same, unless he makes use of it ad diminuendani excellentiam nos- 
tram, or if he is unworthy to possess it in common with other more 
v/orthy persons, or even in preference to them. (Compare what is 
said above of tristitia ex timore and the indignatio.) Then again it 
is quite false that the bonum proximi, except in the cases just men- 
tioned, is a diminutio propriae excellentiae, cum ex proximi felicitate 
tibi propter caritatis et amicitiae unionem potius aliquid excellentiae 
accedat, as Laymann (i. 2. ti. 3. c. 10. n. 2) correctly remarks. 
For this reason we said quod sit, and not quod est, diminutionum, 
etc. Is envy thus directly contra caritatem proximi, it is evident that 
it is ex genere suo peccatum mortale {comp. S. Thom. I. c. q. 36. 
a. 3.). 

The second question is whether it is mortale ex toto genere. St. 
Thomas says nothing about this, because he makes, in general, no 
distinction between mortale ex toto genere and non ex toto. Many 
other authors explicitly declare that there is not respecting this sin a 
parvitas materiae, but do not explain this further. Of all authors to 
whom we have turned for advice, we find Schwane {Special 


Moral Theology, I. p. 140) most explicit, in spite of his brevity: 
"Envy is a grievous sin if our fellow-beings are envied on account 
of their spiritual advantage. Envy that concerns temporal posses- 
sions of our fellow men is not always a grievous sin." 

Leaving aside this distinction between spiritual and temporal 
benefits, we say: Envy is always a grievous sin if the object is a 
possession of such nature, or such extent, that the neighbor, by 
its absence or deprivation, would suffer an important injury. 

Dr. Anton Auer. 


As exempt from the censure is considered a mother who for fear 
of infamy procures the abortus on herself. In a prudent, and it 
appears very proper way, this exemption has been restricted to the 
one case where an otherwise reputable woman who commits this 
crime in fear of disgrace is concerned. The reason for this ex- 
emption may here be explained. The words of the censure, as 
issued by Pius IX., reads quite generally: procurantes abortum 
effecfu secuto. And Ballerini states : atqui etiam in Constitutionibus 
Sixti V. ct Gregorii XIV. indistincte in procurantes abortum censura 
forebatur. If, then, vi hvdus censurae, mothers are included, they 
may for another reason be exempted, namely, on account of fear 
of disgrace, because, in the first place, nietus gravis generally frees 
from papal censures {Gury, II. n. 940; Lehmkuhl, III. n. 867), 
and the exception may be accepted all the more as safe because 
authors like Lehmkuhl (//, n. 970), probabiliter exempt all mothers. 
Also St. Alphonsus, inasmuch as he exempts the mother, seems to 
have based his opinion upon the ground of fear of disgrace, since he 
says attenta ratione intrinseca probabilior (lib. 4. n. 395). There is, 
however, no interior reason valid except the fear of infamy, because 
the other reason, the fear of many children, can in the married state 
be no valid reason, since this state was instituted to that very end. 

I. For this reason it is my opinion that unmarried, reputable, 
women, who for fear of disgrace, procure abortion on themselves, are 
exempt; but not disreputable women in places where it is not con- 



sidered as disgrace, nor married mothers. {Vide Bucceroni, Com- 
ment. Const. A post. Sedis.) 

2. Further, there are exempt from this censure those who, without 
guilt, are not aware of the same. This appHes in general to all 
papal censures (as Gury, Lehmkuhl, etc., teach), but not to censures 
reserved to the bishop. If, therefore, this sin is not reserved to the 
bishop in a diocese, and the person in question had no knowledge of 
the papal censure, any priest can give absolution, and this case very 
frequently occurs. 

3. In order to incur this or any other papal censure there is 
commonly presumed a culpa gravis, a mortal sin (Gury, II. n. 934). 
If the confessor can reasonably conclude that the penitent has acted 
in confusion, without sinning grievously, he may also grant absolu- 

4. Further cases and exceptions are suggested b}- a consideration 
of the wording of the censure : procnr antes abort uni effectn sccitto. 
By procurantes the theologians (Gury, Lehmkuhl) understand those 
who directa volnntate, studiose, ex indiistria proxime causam foetus 
ejicientem pomtnt, those, therefore, who actually intend to directly 
bring about the abortus. In consequence there are exempted : (a) 
those who are merely aware of the operation being performed, for 
knowing of a fact does not mean to actually bring it about; (b) 
those who merely make the mental resolution of procuring the 
abortus; for this is only desiring the abortus, not actually procuring 
it. Further, (c) druggists and venders who know of the intended 
act and supply the necessary drugs for it, because their aim Is not 
to bring about the abortus, but to make the sale and to gain profit 
from it. Finally, (d) those who advise or suggest the act (Lehm- 
kuhl, n. 970). It is to be well remembered here, in order to prevent 
misunderstanding, that one may sin very grievously by such partici- 


patlon without, however, incurring the censure. To be guilty of a 
censure it is necessary that one has committed the crime which falls 
under the censure. This censure, however, presumes the procurare, 
and procurare means stiidiose, directe, proxime causam foetum eji- 
cientem ponere. 

5. The censure, furthermore, reads procurantes abortum; there- 
with it is supposed that the abortus is intended, and not some other 
result, as would be the case, for instance, if on account of illness 
drugs are given by the doctor's orders which directly cure the sick- 
ness, but, at the same time, indirectly bring about the abortus; this 
remark is all the more important here, as this may be done in certain 
cases without sin (compare Gury-BaUerini, I. n. 402). 

6. What does, finally, effectu secuto mean? It means that a person 
who endeavors to procure the ejectio foetus does not incur the 
censure if the ejectio does not take place, because the decree says 
effectu secuto. A person will incur the censure only after this effect 
takes place ; this is conveyed in the words eifectu secuto. If such a 
person, before this result takes place, comes to Confession, he or 
she may be absolved. This is the logical conclusion of our argu- 
ment: (e) Finally, the words of the decree provide that the abortus 
must be the actual result, eifectus procurationis, because the words 
are eifectu secuto, and here the odiosa inter pretatio must be allowed 
to rule. The case may happen that a person who had actually in- 
tended to cause the abortus on herself suffers a bad fall, or gets into 
a condition that of itself is sufficient to effect the ejectio foetus. 
Under such circumstances the abortus is procured, but not as a result 
of the sinful intention and preparation, and as effectu secuto is not 
true here, this person does not incur the censure. 

Still other cases may be imagined, but these suffice for the prac- 
tise of the priest, so that he may readily give a correct answer to 


such questions. As is evident from the discussion, the full literal 
meaning of the censure procurantis abortum effectu sccuto is not 
often present in a case. 

Dr. Anton Pauritsch. 


Julian owes his friend Xavier for the last ten years the amount of 
forty dollars, as a share from the proceeds of a successful specula- 
tion in which both had joined. He had lost all trace of his friend 
before the profit was realized, and as he has now no reasonable 
prospect of ever ascertaining Xavier's whereabouts, he hands the 
amount to his confessor with the request to employ it for charitable 
purposes. The priest takes the amount and gives of it (without the 
knowledge of Julian or any one else) fifteen dollars to a needy 
brother of his, and the other twenty-five dollars to his parents, who, 
although not in want, still on account of advanced age require special 
care, and on that account are in need of support. This support the 
priest otherwise provides out of his own income ; upon this occasion, 
however, he employs these twenty-five dollars for the same purpose 
parcendo suis rebus. The questions are: i. May Julian devote the 
forty dollars for charitable purposes; and 2. may his confessor 
employ the money in the way stated above ? 

Answer to the Urst question: That Julian could apply the money in 
this way is the opinion of Sayrus, who writes : Quando dominus in- 
certus est (this was Xavier in the sense of the following words) et 
nescitur, ubi habitat, . . . danda res est pauperibus, quando verisimile 
est, dominum non compariturum. (Clavis rcgia lib. 10. tract. 5. 
cap. 2. n. 24.) That he even did more than was required appears 
from Friedhoff's opinion that: If the possessor is unknown, or 
though known, is directly or indirectly beyond reach, and the holder 
is a possessor in good conscience, he may (in the opinion of Sayrus 



and of others etiam si dives esset) retain the matter as his property ; 
if a possessor in bad conscience he must make restitution for charit- 
able purpose. (Special Moral Theology, § 138 n. 4; comp. also 
Sayriis I. c. n. 28 and 21.) 

Anszvcr to the second question: If the priest was well-to-do, or 
perhaps even wealthy, it was not praiseworthy for him to prefer his 
ovv'/i relations to other persons in needy circumstances just to save 
his own money. If he, however, was not blessed with any consider- 
able superfluity, then I do not see (unless scandal was given) why 
it should be improper for him to prefer his brother and parents, as 
long as they were needy : notandum, snh nomine pauperum compre- 
hendi etiani conjunctos, si vere ipsi egentes ita sint, ut juxta status 
sui conditionem vivere nequenat. (Ligtiori, Homo A postal tract. 13. 
n. 48.) If the priest was convinced of the need of these relatives, 
he cannot be obliged to make restitution, even if he be wealthy. If 
in doubt about their need, he should have sought the advice of his 
confessor, or of other proper authority. Agreeing with this view, 
and in further discussion of this subject, Sayrus writes: Si necessi- 
tas et inopia sua sit certa, potest sibi ant cognatis tamquam vere 
pauperibus ilia (bona) elargiri, dumnwdo id faciat sine fraude et 
dolo. Quia, qiium jure expressum sit, dari debere pauperibus, non 
antem his vel ilUs, consequenter potest sine consilio alicujus ea sibi' 
restituere. Et couHrmatur: quia, si aliquis alius deberet rcstituerc, 
esset pium, dare hide, qui nunc retinet; ergo ipse poterit sibi retinere. 
Qiiando autein neccssitas non est ita certa, nc quis sinat se propria 
aifectu et judicio in causa propria decipi, monent praefati autores 
(here are eleven of them enumerated, at their head Sts. Thomas and 
Cajetan) quod non retineat ea sibit aut ea suis amicis et parenfibus 
distribuat sine antoritate Parochiani aut prudcntis confessarii, 
maximc si quantitas sit magna (in our case the same is not large). 


Ubit aiitem semcl sibi aut suis consanguineis praedicta autoritate 
et consilio distribiierit, non tenetur amplius ad restitutionem^ etiamsi 
postca ad pingimorcm fortiinam venerit. (Ubi supra n. 21, cfr. 
etiam Aertnys, Theol. moral. I. lib. 3. tract. 7. n. 266.) 

What is to be done if, after the money has thus been disposed of, 
Xavier should unexpectedly reappear, or in some way become 
accessible? St. Alphonsus instructs us in this matter in the follow- 
ing words: Quando, spcctatis omnibus circumstantHs, non est {i. c, 
non censetur, as in our case) amplius possibile, quod dominus in- 
veniatur, tunc pauper acquirit rei absolutuni dominium, sine ullo 
onere restitutionis (si dominus postea casu appareat). (Tom. 3. 
n. 590.) 

Bernard Deppe. 


It happens not infrequently that portable altars, or altar-stones, 
upon which the Sacrifice of the New Law is offered to God, are not 
found in the condition which the precepts of the Church require, and 
it will therefore be of benefit and advantage to present here briefly 
the ecclesiastical rules regarding construction and the possible exe- 
cration of portable altars. 

A portable, or movable altar (altare portatile, mobile, also altare 
viaticum), is, as well known, a square stone with a smooth surface, 
blessed by the bishop with the special rite prescribed by the Church, 
which, if required, may be transferred from one to another altar, or 
another place allowed by the Church for the celebration of holy 
Mass. This stone, so that it may not be easily injured, is usually 
of marble (cement slabs are allowable, but not slabs of plaster or 
pumice-stone, S. R. C, April 29, 1887). For this reason the oldest 
ecclesiastical law books provide: Altaria, si non fuerint lapidea, 
chrismatis unctione non consecrentur, Dist. I. c. XX XL de Consecr.; 
it must be of size sufficiently large that at holy Mass chalice and 
paten, at least for their larger part, may be placed upon it; it mu:st 
at the same time be of depth allowing the sepulchrum {confessio) 
to be cut into it. 

The sepulchrum is, according to recent practise, a receptacle hewn 
out at the upper surface of the altar-stone in the form of a small 
square, in which, at the consecration of the altar-stone, relics of 
saints, together with their authentication, are deposited by the bishop, 
whereupon the sepulchrum is covered with a tightly closing piece of 



stone, called the operculum (also sigillum altaris), which is well 
cemented to lock the sepulchre tightly and securely. 

As the Canon Law ordains in altare non consecrato non licet cele- 
brare missae, and since it often becomes necessary to remove the altar- 
stone from the altar-table (mensa), and transfer it to another altar, 
care should be taken in so inserting the altar-stone in the altar-table 
that it can be easily taken out. For this reason, the altar-stone should 
not be masoned into the table, nor fastened with cement, because this 
would cause difficulty in removing it — might even cause the desecra- 
tion of the altar-stone. Moreover, the altar-stone should be raised a 
little above the level of the altar-table so as to make its location easily 
discernible for placing chalice and paten upon the same. 

The altar being the most important and essential part of the 
Church, because it represents mystically that exalted altar upon 
which the High Priest of the New Law offered Himself to His 
heavenly Father for the sins and the salvation of mankind, and be- 
cause this sacred Sacrifice is in an unbloody manner daily repeated 
in the Catholic Church, special care should be taken so that the 
erection of altars in churches and chapels strictly corresponds to 
liturgical precept. Since the altar-stone, with its relics of saints, 
forms the most essential part of the altar it is necessary that 
the priest from time to time, especially if the church be damp, 
examine whether the altar-stone has not become injured, or even 

In order that this inspection of the altar-stone, to be undertaken 
not only occasionally by the pastor, but also on occasion of 
canonical visitations, may be done properly and satisfactorily, we 
will here state the chief things to be considered in determining the 
desecration of portable altars. Desecration is to be considered as 
established : 

2 74 'THE CASUIST— VOL. Ill • 

1. If the piece of stone {operculum, sigillum altaris), which closes 
the scpuldirum, has in any way, or for any cause, been removed, and 
if in consequence the sepiilchrum has been opened. (S. R. C, 
September 23, 1848; and August 12, 1858.) 

2. If this locking-stone of the sepidchrum, through some mis- 
chance, has been broken or cracked, and thus the sepulchrum has 
been opened. (S. R. C, September 23, 1848.) 

3. If this stone locking the sepidchrum is still there, but has be- 
come loose, making it doubtful whether the sepulchrum has not been 
opened. If it can be ascertained that an opening of the sepulchrum 
has not taken place, that merely the fastenings of the cover gave 
way in the course of time, or that the loosening of the cement 
was caused by careless handling of the altar-stone, then the altar 
does not lose its consecration, and any priest may undertake the 
recementing, but the sepulchrum must not be opened in the process, 
because otherwise desecration would take place. (S. R. C, March 
14, 1861 ; September 25, 1875.) 

4. A portable altar must be positively regarded as desecrated, 
and in all such cases be reconsecrated, if the sepulchrum is broken 
open and the relics removed, even if other authenticated relics are 
substituted (S. R. C, May 22,, 1835; December 7, 1844, ^nd May 
23, 1846). (If the episcopal seal is broken or destroyed, the altar 
is not thereby desecrated of itself. S. R. C, March 11, 1837), P^O" 
vided neither the sepulchrum is broken open nor its cover injured. 

5. A portable altar is to be considered as desecrated if the 
sepulchrum is shattered. (S. R. C, September 23, 1848, and August 
12, 1858.) 

6. If such a considerable portion of the altar-stone has broken 
off that the remaining portion will no longer suffice to hold chalice 
and paten. (S. R. C, March 3, 1821.) 


7. If, in consequence of injury to the altar-stone, one of the parts 
that have been anointed has disappeared, which may easily happen 
to corners of altar-stones. (S. R. C, October 6, 1837.) 

8. If the stone is so completely cracked in two that it can no longer 
be considered as a whole, even though the break cannot well be 
noticed. (S. R. C, August 31, 1867; March 3, 1821.) 

On the other hand, an altar-stone does not lose consecration: 
(a) When merely a small portion of the same, for instance, of a 
corner, is broken off, or has in course of time crumbled away. 

(b) If the wooden frame or back of an altar-stone is separated 
from it. 

(c) If an altar-stone is lifted from its cavity in the altar-table and 
transferred to another altar, provided the sepulchrum is not broken 
open in this process, nor the relics lost. (S. R. C, June 21, 1710; 
and December 7, 1844.) 

(d) If the church has been profaned, because in this case only 
immovable altars are desecrated. 

The principles just stated are to be remembered whenever doubt 
arises as to whether an altar is desecrated or not. Since the 
sepulchrum with its relics forms the most important part of the 
portable altar or altar-stone, and as it is evident from what has been 
said that it can be very easily injured, it is incumbent upon pastors 
not to neglect the altar-stones of their churches, and to make sure 
frequently that they are not desecrated and that the sepulchrum is 
not injured. This is especially necessary if church or altar are damp, 
or if the sexton and his assistants are careless, as unfortunately 
happens often, in cleaning and decorating the altar. Their attention 
should be drawn to the fact that the altar-stone must be protected 
by every precaution. If the priest finds altar-stone or sepulchrum 
injured in any way at all, he should at once refer the matter to the 


ordinary and ask for instructions. Until these arrive, Mass should 
not be celebrated upon such altar, especially if the desecration is 
probable, unless the damaged altar-stone can be replaced by another 
one in proper condition. 

Dr. Ant. Brychta. 


Flavia, a servant, is in the "habit of buying supplies in the store 
of Emporius. One day she hands to Emporius, who has waited upon 
her personally, a ten-dollar bill to be changed ; he gives her three 
dollars too much, which fact Flavia only notices on arriving home, 
when she counts her money. She returns immediately to the store 
and informs Emporius : "In making change you have made a mis- 
take of three dollars." The store-keeper, in the belief that Flavia 
m.eant that he had not given her enough change, and that she would 
ask for the difference, replied brusquely : "Such things do not happen 
here ; and, what is more, you cannot prove your assertion." Flavia 
tries to explain, but Emporius proceeds with waiting on other cus- 
tomers and pays no further attention to her beyond dismissing her 
with the words: "It is my rule not to consider such claims unless 
made during the transaction ; if there was anything wrong you should 
have mentioned it when I gave you the change." Whereupon he went 
about his business. Flavia, angered by this treatment, left the store 
and made up her mind to keep the money for herself. Upon 
another occasion Flavia bought supplies in another store, where 
she was not a regular customer. There she was not waited on by 
the proprietor, but by the clerk. It so happened that he, too, made 
an error in making change and gave her fifty cents too much. 
Later on Flavia noticed the error, but she reasoned that she would 
not be well received if attempting to tell the clerk of his mistake; 
and she supposed the same principle would hold good here as in 
Emporius's store. Thus she soothed her conscience and kept the 



money for herself without mentioning the matter. The questions 
are asked: i. May Flavia, in the first case, keep the money with 
good conscience? 2. What is to be said about Flavia's proceeding 
in the second case? 

Answering the first question: Flavia may in this case keep the 
money for herself, not because Emporius refused to listen, for she 
would have had occasion to bring the matter up some other time. 
The actual reason why Flavia is not obliged to take further steps, 
and why she may retain the money with good conscience, is found 
in the circumstance that Emporius stated that in his store prevailed 
the rule not to consider such claims unless made during the transac- 
tion. For, if he applies this rule in his own favor, justice requires 
that he let it prevail also in cases where he might sustain a loss ; it 
would be manifestly an injustice if he demanded restitution in such 
cases without being willing to make restitution. This applies all 
the more in our case as Flavia regularly made her purchases at 
this place and it might easily happen now and again that a 
mistake happened to her disadvantage. In such cases Flavia would 
have no hope of indemnification if Emporius's principle had only 
a one-sided application ; if applied mutually, matters would adjust 
themselves. It is, of course, understood that a principle of this 
kind cannot apply if the error is immediately noticed and can easily, 
be proved. 

Answer to the second question: This case is, in several respects, 
different from the preceding one. i. Flavia does not know at all 
whether this other store-keeper in such cases acts on the same prin- 
ciple as Emporius. 2. As Flavia does not otherwise trade at this 
store, there is no opportunity that, by an occasional mistake to her 
disadvantage, the matter might right itself ; there would be no reci- 
procity. 3. In this case it is a question not of the proprietor, but 



of a clerk, who may perhaps have to make good the deficit out of 
his own pocket. Therefore Flavia did wrong by keeping the money 
for herself, and she is obliged to report the error that took place 
and return the excess change received. In order not to cause trouble 
to the clerk, she should, if possible, return it to him privately. 



Colius has, in a fit of jealousy, murdered a young man, and in 
order to divert suspicion from himself, has left in the neighborhood 
of the corpse the hat and knife of his friend Florus, who had been 
living in enmity with the murdered man. The police discovered 
these articles and arrested Florus. The latter is finally found guilty 
and sentenced to death. Then Colius, in troubled conscience, hastens 
to his confessor, Father Clemens, who absolves him without hesita- 
tion, with the remark that no one is obliged to accuse himself. With 
little faith in this explanation Colius turned to another confessor, 
Father Severus. This priest refused absolution until Colius would, 
even with danger to his own life, free by self-accusation the innocent 
Florus from his unfortunate position. Colius is now perplexed. 
Which confessor must be obeyed, and why? 

1. In the case of Colius there are present all conditions that estab- 
lish the strict obligation of restitution. He is guilty of having caused 
the misfortune of Florus. The remarks of the first confessor that no 
one is obliged to accuse himself is, in this sense, and especially in 
application to this case, palpably incorrect. If there is merely 
question of one's own punishment, then it is true that no one is" 
obliged to accuse himself. If, on the contrary, self-accusation is the 
necessary and only adequate means to make good a wrong com- 
mitted, such as in our case, then it may become a strict obligation. 

2. With far more apparent justification it might be said that 
Colius, by depositing hat and knife of his friend, became merely the 
occasion (occasio), but not actually the cause (causa eMciens) of 
the latter's conviction. Lehmkuhl says (Theol. mor. I. 997) : Si 



quis positiva fraude in alterwm suspicionem (criminis) convertit. 
vidcndum est, num ilia fraus prudenter movere potuerit, ut alterurn 
pro reo haberent et punirent. Quod si factum est, excitatio suspi- 
cionis fuit causa damni efUcax: si alii vero temere alterurn condemna- 
runt, solani occasionem damni habemus. Then he cites the case of a 
thief who throws some of the stolen coins before the door of an- 
other, who finds the same, takes them, and in the subsequent in- 
vestigation is held and punished as the thief. In this case, the author 
explains, the real thief's action is merely the occasio, not the ca\isa 
effjciens of the resulting conviction. And rightly so, for although I 
may possess coins that another has stolen, there is no sufficient reason 
to hold me as the thief. I may have obtained possession of these 
coins in a perfectly innocent way. How, then, about Colius's action ? 
He left hat and knife of Florus beside the murdered man. Was the 
presence of these articles near the corpse sufficient reason for con- 
sidering Florus to be the perpetrator, and to condemn him to death ? 
One may doubt this. The possibility of the true state of facts will 
not be overlooked by a deliberate judge, because the trick of throw- 
ing suspicion upon others is not unusual with criminals, and Florus 
will certainly have stated that hat and knife had been stolen from 
him. If it is remembered that Florus had lived in enmity with the 
murdered man, the presence of these articles might well lead to a 
verdict of guilty against Florus, without justifying a charge of bias 
against jury or judge. Colius, while not responsible for the addi- 
tional motive for suspicion, has nevertheless made use of it inten- 
tionally, to divert more surely suspicion from himself ; he knew that 
because of this circumstance his act could more surely draw down 
upon Florus bad results. He who gives to a sick person a poison that 
would not kill a healthy person, is guilty of murder nevertheless, if he 
knew beforehand the fatal efifects of the poison, and yet gave it. 


Colius could and did know that by leaving hat and knife of a man 
who had lived at enmity with the murdered man he might easily bring 
about his conviction. Hence he is all the more the moral cause of it, 
and is obliged to avert the threatened danger from Florus, even 
though he must assume it himself. Colius was conscious of this 
heavy responsibility ; for this reason he was not satisfied with the de- 
cision of the first confessor. For this reason also it will be relatively 
easy to induce him to the actual fulfilment of his duty. It is not 
necessary that Colius should give himself up and expose himself 
to punishment ; it suffices if he declares the matter before competent, 
credible witnesses, and lets them take further action while he puts 
his own person in safety. 

Jacob Linden, S.J. 


The priest Sempronius has administered the last Sacraments to 
an insane man, dangerously ill, in his lucid moments. The patient 
subsequently becomes a raving maniac and incessantly and franticall}- 
calls for a priest to absolve him. Sempronius is called again and 
requested by relatives to pretend compliance with the lunatic's de- 
mand, i. e., to put on his stole and act as if giving absolution. May 
Sempronius consent to this suggestion? 

The answer can only be : No. Apart from the fact that positively 
and under no circumstances a simulatio Sacramenti, in the actual 
and serious sense, qua iicte aliquid ponitur, quod essentialiter ad 
Sacramentum pertinet may take place, for instance, pronouncing the 
words of absolution without intention to absolve, because such a 
mendacium sacrilegum is always a grievously sinful abuse of the 
holy Sacrament of Penance ; the simulatio absolutionis, in the sensre 
that the penitent, or bystander, or both, by the apparent performance 
of the judicial sentence, are deceived, while in reality only a blessing 
is imparted, is thoroughly unlawful. Confessarius non debet in- 
tendere deceptionem (poenitentis vel) adstantium, sed tantuni occul- 
tationem veritates; nam alias mendacii reatum non effugeret {St. 
Alphonsus I. c). Only in rare cases may the confessor conceal the 
truth by making the sign of the Cross and a prayer of blessing ; he 
may conceal it to the penitent himself in a case where he must with- 
hold absolution, on account of a certain sacrilegious concealment of 
a sin confessed by the complex of this penitent, in order to avoid 
material sacrilege and his own co-operation (St. Alphonsus speaks 
of this case, VI . «. 631) ; and before others, if the confessor cannot 



absolve the penitent on account of indisposition and must conceal the 
refusal to prevent violation of the seal of Confession and defamation 
of the penitent. (See S. Alphons. VI. n. 59; Lehmkuhl, II. n. 45.) 

In our case there is manifestly no reason for a justifiable dissimu- 
latio denegatae absolntionis, it w^ould be a simiilatio intended purely 
ad deceptionem aegroti, by which the sacred Tribunal would be de- 
graded to a farce or caricature, although for the good purpose of 
pacifying the patient. 

What, then, may be done in our case ? It would be advisable, first 
of all, to inquire if the desire of the insane man is not, indeed, more 
rational than that of his relatives, namely, if the sick man does not 
perhaps really need absolution, as it is possible that in lucid moments 
he realizes that his confession has been invalid, or he has committed 
another sin, and now, controlled by the impression, desires another 
Confession and absolution, hence his clamoring. If this suspicion can 
be verifi.ed, Sempronius must certainly again absolve the poor man 
in all earnestness, and unconditionally. But even if this supposition 
is not founded, or cannot be proved, Sempronius may also in all 
earnestness, but of course only conditionally, absolve the patient once 
more, and this he may even repeat at further visits. It is a matter 
here of one seriously ill, and as according to the doctrine of St. 
Alphonsus, it is not only permissible, but even advisable to grant 
absolution to such a one whether he be conscious or not, and after 
some time repeat it at least conditionally. In Appendix II. De 
assistentia erga moribiindos, §5 monita circa agoncm et mortem, to 
his work Homo apostolicus, torn. 4, the saintly writer says : Dum 
iniirmus adhuc sensihus viget, absolutiofiem pluries ei conferre post 
hrcvem reconciliationem jiivahit, tit ita ille magis circa statum gratiae 
sectirus rcddatm\ si forsan praeteritae confession es invalidae fuissent, 
ant saltern gratiae angmcntum recipiat, necnon purgatorii poenae 


ei minuantur . . . Si tamen inHrmus jam sensibus caret et nullum 
doloris nee absolutionis desiderii signum ostendit, non expedit, valde 
saepius intra etindem diem absolutionem ei impertiri; quia tunc^ licet 
conditionate detur, tamen ut Sacramentum valeat administrari sub 
conditione, itrgens et gravis causa requiritur; unde opus est, ut 
aliquod notabile temporis spatium intermediet. Verum in hoc sacer- 
dos ex conscientia, quam noverit intirmi, se dirigere debet; nam si 
ille habituatus fuerit in pravis cogitationibus, si aliquo vulnere mori- 
tur, aut aliqua odvi vel impuri amoris passione est irretitus, si iniir- 
mitas est nimis acerba, et ipse non libenti animo suifert, tunc saepius 
absolutio dari potest; sin autem, sufUcit, ut triuni aut quatuor hora- 
rum spatium intercedat: frequentius tamen, si jam moriturus est. 
St. AJphonsus is correctly of the view that God in His infinite 
mercy incites the unconscious sick, struggHng with death, in their 
lucid intervals, by giving them sufficient grace to make inward super- 
natural acts for salvation, and aids them, where necessary, as for the 
holy Sacrament of Penance, to manifest them also outwardly. Upon 
this presumption he bases the permissibility and advantage of re- 
peating after appropriate intervals at least conditional absolution, 
it may in any case be repeated every three to four hours, and the 
nearer death the more frequently. Thus Sempronius should explain 
the matter to the relatives of the sick man, and tell them that though 
not able to entertain the suggestion of simulating the act, he will 
really give the patient the absolution. He will ascertain whether the 
patient has lucid moments, and use them for awakening acts of 
virtue, sentiments of contrition, and for the granting of uncondi- 
tional absolution; or, if such lucid intervals are not perceptible he 
will, after announcing that he will pronounce absolution, recite aloud 
the acts mentioned before and give conditional absolution. 

Dr. Joseph Eiselt. 


In a lenten regulation is found the customary provision: "In 
special cases we hereby give the priests and confessors of our dio- 
cese the power to dispense individual persons for important rea- 
sons." In this same diocese Caius comes to Father Titius, to whom 
he usually goes to Confession, and requests for good reasons dis- 
pensation from fasting. Titius grants it. Then Caius, for similar 
reasons, asks also the dispensation of his wife, who is not a penitent 
of Titius. May Titius also dispense her? 

Answer. — Yes. First of all the fact that the wife of Caius does 
not appear personally is no obstacle. There is no requirement that 
the dispensation must take place in the confessional, it may take 
place in writing, or by messenger, provided inquiries can be made 
as to whether sufficient grounds for the dispensation prevail. Thus 
the answer depends entirely upon the fact how the word confessor 
must be understood. If it is to be taken in the restricted meaning, 
/. e., if the power is granted to confessors only for their own peni- 
tent, then, of course, Titius cannot dispense the wife. If, on the 
contrary, the expression has a wider meaning, for instance, that all 
who have jurisdiction to hear Confession, have also the jurisdiction 
to grant this dispensation, then Titius can dispense the wife : at 
least if he has jurisdiction to hear her Confession, in case, therefore, 
that she does not live outside his diocese. The latter view, it seems 
to us, should be held in preference. Of themselves both definitions 
of the term confessor have a perfectly reasonable meaning. Then, 
however, the rule governs: BeneHcia sunt ampUanda. It is true 



that, as a rule, an individual dispensation must be strictly inter- 
preted; not, however, the faculty to dispense. This is regarded as 
a beneficium, and hence the principle Beneficia sunt amplianda 


Tullius, a wealthy but parsimonious widower, makes promise to 
his servant girl Claudia to marry her within a year's time, which 
promise Claudia accepts with pleasure and returns on her part. 
In the meantime another advantageous offer of marriage is made to 
her by another party, which she refuses in view^ of her expected 
marriage to Tullius. Subsequently, Claudia learns that Tullius is 
about to marry another person who possesses a considerable fortune. 
To Claudia's inquiries Tullius answers that he indeed has this inten- 
tion, and he disputes that he ever made Claudia an actual promise 
of marriage, nor will he agree to any compensation. Claudia, real- 
izing that further representations will be useless, and unable to pro- 
duce legal proof that a betrothal exists between her and Tullius, 
tries to think of a means of getting indemnity some way or another. 
An opportunity soon presents itself. One day as Tullius returned 
home with a well-filled pocketbook he dropped it unawares while 
ascending the stairs. Claudia observed it, picked up the pocketbook 
secretly, and took the money contained therein, amounting to about 
$600, to a place of safety. Claudia believed she was doing no 
wrong, but was acting only in self-protection. When Tullius 
missed the pocketbook, his suspicions fell immediately upon Claudia ; 
thinking that she had taken the pocketbook either out of his coat 
or from his desk. He accused her of the theft and had her arrested 
and examined. She asserts that she neither wrongfully appro- 
priated nor stole anything from her employer. This deposition she 
confirms finally by oath, whereupon, for lack of evidence, she is 
set free. 



Questions. — (i) Has Claudia a justifiable claim for compensa- 
tion? Is Tullius obliged to make restitution to her? (2) If this is 
affirmed, the question is : May Claudia satisfy her claim by secret 
compensation? (3) As regards manner and means of Claudia's 
act to compensate herself, are they lawful and permissible? (4) 
Was Claudia permitted to swear to her deposition or did she 
thereby commit perjury? 

To the first question: Claudia has a double right to demand 
restitution : (a) Because Tullius unlawfully withdrew from the 
betrothal; (b) because he was the cause of Claudia's refusal of an 
offer of marriage made by another. About the sum to be given in 
restitution Lehmkuhl observes: Qui injuste a sponsalihus recedit 

. adigitur ad justam damni compensationem quae . 
communiter secundum convenientem puellae dotationem aesttmari 
solet. Therefore, in our case the sum of $6ck) cannot be con- 
sidered too much. And even in the case that the betrothal had for 
some reason been technically invalid, Tullius would still be obliged 
to make restitution, because Claudia, on account of his promise of 
marriage, rejected another advantageous oflFer, and thus through 
his fault suffered great loss. There can be no doubt, therefore, 
about Claudia's right to compensation. 

Answering the second question: Secret compensation (compensatio 
occulta) is allowed in the presumption: (a) that the claim is with- 
out all doubt certain; (b) that it is impossible, or at least difficult, 
to attain one's right by ordinary and legal means. That the first 
presumption is true in our case is clear from the answer given above 
to the first question. That the other condition prevails is evident 
from the statement of the case. Hence, Claudia is justified to resort 
to secret compensation in order to satisfy her just claim. 

To the third question : When once the lawful claim is established. 



then the manner of compensating oneself is immaterial, any manner 
is permissible, provided (a) that neither the debtor nor a third 
party suffers unjust injury; (b) that those who compensate them- 
selves in this way must not thereby inflict upon themselves a rela- 
tively greater injury, or place themselves in imminent danger of 
losing a greater good. Regarding the first point it cannot be seen 
how in our case a third party might suffer loss. Not even TuUius is 
unjustly injured. This would be the case only then if he afterward 
repented and voluntarily made restitution to Claudia, which, how- 
ever, is evidently improbable. And should he do so, Claudia would 
be in a position to refuse the proltered compensation wholly or in 
part. The first-named presumption is true, therefore, in our case, 
and on that account Claudia's procedure is not unlawful. It is 
different with the second presumption. The way and means by 
which Claudia helps herself to her rights are at all events very 
dangerous for her. She puts herself in danger of losing freedom 
and honor before the world. If her act had been proven against 
her she would have been branded as a thief and perjurer. Proper 
self-love does not permit that, on account of a lesser good (in our 
case, the money), one should expose oneself to the danger of losing 
a higher good, honor and liberty. Nevertheless, even though 
Claudia's action, because of the danger incurred, may be considered 
unallowable, still she may post factum retain the money obtained 
in this way as compensation for the wrong suffered. 

To the fourth question: Claudia, in her deposition to the Court, 
was not guilty of an actual lie, as indeed she neither stole nor 
wrongfully appropriated anything. She made use of an equivocal 
expression, the so-called perceptible mental reservation. This 
mental reservation in the wider and unreal sense {late sen Impro- 
prie inentalis) Is, according to the universal opinion of theologians, 


permissible when sufficient cause is present {Gury, Theolog. moral. 
I., n. 442, edit. 4; Ratisbon, p. 199). And Claudia could swear to 
her deposition with good conscience. In regard to this the rule is : 
Whatever one can state without lying or sinning, one may, for a 
good reason, also confirm by oath (S. Alph. Liguori, Theolog. mor. 
I., III., n. 151, et 152). That Claudia had important reason for her 
action is apparent: not only honor and good name, but even her 
liberty were at a stake. Hence, it is evident the Claudia committed 
no perjury, but only a permissible act of self-defense. 

Dr. Joseph Niglutsch. 



Father Sempronius, in his rehgious instruction, while explaining 
the second commandment and speaking of the vow, finds in his 
handbook the definition, "A vow is a well-considered promise, made 
to God, to do a certain good to which one is not obliged by a com- 
mandment." Father Sempronius considers this incorrect, he omits 
the words : to which one is not obliged by the commandment, and 
substitutes therefor, "if one does not thereby prevent something 
better." Was Father Sempronius right in his view that the words : 
to which one is not obliged by a commandment, contain an error, 
and what about the provision which Father Sempronius puts in 
their place? 

St. Thomas treats of the question in 11. , II. al de q. 88, Art. 2 : 
Utrum votum semper deheat Heri de meliori bono, and in his dis- 
•cussion makes inquiry about what may be the actual object of a 
vow. Starting from the fact that the vow is a voluntary promise 
he holds there can never be the object of a vow that quod est abso- 
lute necessarium esse vel non esse. It would be foolish, for in- 
stance, to make the vow to die at the end of one's natural life. St. 
Thomas then, in second place, mentions things, which, although 
not absolutely necessary, still are necessary in order to attain a 
certain end, and adds that such things in quantum voluntarie Hunt 
may be the object of a vow. Here belong those acts ordained, or for- 
bidden, by a divine law : because their practise, or avoidance, is not 
necessary of their own account, but necessary in regard to eternal 
salvation. Though, therefore, according to St. Thomas, these things 
may form the object of a valid vow, there is, according to the same 



theologian, in the real and strict sense only that a proper object of 
a vow which is not prescribed by law, but advised, as only the latter 
depends perfectly upon our free will. Propriissime, and in first 
place, the object of a vow is some advised act; in second place: 
something of obligation. This is in our case the doctrine of St. 
Thomas and it is shared by theologians almost without exception. 
A divergency between the teaching of St. Thomas and that of other 
theologians is only found therein that the angelic teacher makes 
distinction between the object in a narrow and wider sense of the 
word, whilst this distinction is explicitly made by hardly any other 

Recent authorities are also of opinion that not only the advised 
act, but also one of obligation may be the object of a vow, as 
is evident from even a superficial perusal of their works. Lehm- 
kuhl (P. L, n. 498), for instance, considers this view so self-evident 
that it requires no proof. For those who nevertheless would be 
tempted to doubt, he refers to the votum castitatis as approved by 
the Church, the matter of which is not only celibacy, etc., but also 
acts always and under all circumstances forbidden to all men. 

To hold the view that whatever is of obligation cannot be the 
object of a vow, would be to deny that all such acts are included 
in the votum castitatis, and consequently their commission by a per- 
son who had made the votum castitatis would be no violation of the 
vow, although, of course, a sin against the Sixth Commandment. 
That this would contradict the general conception of the vow of 
chastity is obvious ; it appears, indeed, improbable that those who 
do not share our view have considered the logical consequence of 
their theory. Like Lehmkuhl, so does Gury (torn, I., n. 324) an- 
swer our question, and bases his affirmative answer on the fact 
that it does not at all conflict if the obligation to perform, or to 

294 ^HE CASUIST— VOL. lit 

omit, a certain act has different sources, and he continues: deinde 
vero votum huiusmodi est de re bona in se, cum praecepta suppona- 
tur, et est de bono meliorl, cum novum vinculum ad maiorem Udeli- 
tatem et devotioneni in adimplenda lege conferre possit. P. Bal- 
lerini agrees with this in his note to Gury's remark, and he adds : 
Insuper actionibus ex huitismodi voto positis nobilitas, quae ex 
virtute Religionis profluit, uberiorisque meriti ratio accedit. Upon 
the same ground as Gury, Miiller bases his view (/., //., § 52), and 
he explains that it is more meritorious to do something: ex voto, 
quam idem facerc sine voto. Qui enim vi voti agit, ex 
motivo religionis ct proposito Urmiori, magisque constanti operatur. 
Schwane decides in the same sense, in his Moral Theology (/., 
§65), and explains that such an act of obligation receives from the 
vow a new specific merit, and its omission an additional specific 
wrong which must be confessed as a breach of the vow. 

It is, furthermore, certainly the sententia comtnunis theologorum 
which affirms the validity of a vow not to commit a grievous sin. 
All authors who defend the validity of this vow must agree with our 
opinion, because the avoidance of grievous sin is surely something 
to which we are obliged. The question to what extent such a vow 
in respect to venial sins has validity is here without importance, for, 
if the validity of such a vow is disputed, it is done for another 

Father Sempronius, therefore, was perfectly right when he con- 
sidered it an error that only something advisable, and not something 
of obligation, may be the object of a vow. 

The provision, which Father Sempronius substituted in place of 
the omitted words, is superfluous in the definition of the vow, for 
Father Sempronius could simply have based his definition upon that 
of St. Thomas : est promissio Deo facta, by which the nature of the 



vow, as Lehmkuhl also observes, is fully expressed. If Father 
Sempronius, however, wished to give expression to the idea of the 
bonum melius in the definition, then the words : whereby one does 
not prevent something better are well chosen, for the essential mean- 
ing of this provision is not that the object of the vow must be better 
than what is of obligation, but ut non sit, as Reiffenstuel (Theol. 
mor. torn. I., tract. VI.) puts it. ex se impeditivum alterius o peris 

J.voN Grimmenstein. 


From an Italian periodical we quote the following case. Simpli- 
cius is an inveterate gambler. One day, finding himself out of funds, 
he observes that his room-mate, Fulvius, puts away a fire-lire piece 
among his belongings, and Simplicius, thinking that he can replace 
the money before its owner will discover the peculation, takes this coin 
and soon invests it in a game of chance. He was favored by luck 
and won considerable money. His joy and good cheer is noted by 
Fulvius, who is soon made aware of all the facts, including the one 
that it was his money which enabled his friend to gamble. Fulvius 
thereupon claims the entire winnings because it was his money that 
produced them. Simplicius balked, and finally they agree that Ful- 
vius should have part of the winnings, and, of course, the amount 
taken from him. After Fulvius had his share safely put away, he 
made to Simplicius the startling announcement that this coin had 
been a counterfeit and that he was surprised how Simplicius could 
pass it without trouble. It is asked, had Fulvius any right at all to 
the winnings ? May he retain share of the winnings with good con- 
science? Finally, may Simplicius keep the winnings and is he 
under no obligation to the taker of the spurious coin ? 

Ad. I. Fulvius had no claim whatever upon the winnings which 
Simplicius made with this coin. It is true that the possessor nialae 
adei, which Simplicius is here, must be dealt with far more severely 
than the possessor bonae fidei, and the principle : res clamat ad domi- 
niun, and res fructiUcat domino, must be more rigorously applied. For 
instance, the possessor bonae Udei may become the rightful owner of 
the article and its natural fruits, which is impossible to the pos- 
sessor malae £dei because the necessary condition, the bona fides, is 




lacking in him. But in our case there are functus indusiriales. The 
winnings must manifestly be ascribed to the luck and industria of 
Simplicius. According to law even the possessor malae iidei maj^ 
retain the fructus indusiriales. 

Ad. 11. While Fulvius was privileged to have Simplicius arraigned 
in court for stealing, he was not obliged to it, neither ex caritate nor 
e.v justitia; he could renounce his right and allow himself to be 
bought off by Simplicius, who was concerned in preserving his 
good name, even if, as in our case, there was no intention of 
dragging the culprit to court. 

Ad. Ill, Simplicius may keep the winnings, but must make restitu- 
tion for the spurious coin to the man who accepted it as genuine. 
Gambling presumes an agreement to let chance determine the win- 
ner. It is in the nature of a commercial agreement, an emptio certo 
pretio juris incerti. The gambler buys for a certain sum the right to 
a gain that depends upon chance, upon the alea. For the nature of 
an agreement is required the mutuus consensus, in the commercial 
agreement the mutuus consensus dandi resp. accipiendi certum pre- 
tium pro quadam merce. This consensus was certainly present in 
our case. Simplicius undertakes to put up five lire, and the man who 
runs the game on his part agrees to pay if Simplicius wins, and his 
stake is the gain that may fall to Simplicius through the gamble. 
This agreement was not affected by the circumstance that the buyec 
of the chance paid with counterfeit money. For this reason, even if 
Simplicius had not won, he would nevertheless have been obliged to 
make good those five lire. Since luck favored him, he may take and 
keep the winnings. He is obliged, however, to restore the five lire, 
because the man who took the counterfeit coin is injured to that 
extent by Simplicius, even though the latter was not aware of caus- 
ing this injury. Prof. Joseph Weiss. 


It happens frequently that at an altar upon which the Blessed 
Sacrament is exposed, Masses are said, and holy Communion is 
given. The question is whether this usage is in accordance with the 
precepts of the Church. 

The question cannot be answered by a simple yes or no. The 
answer depends upon various circumstances. 

I. It is a generally prevailing precept that at an altar upon which 
the Blessed Sacrament is exposed no Masses may be said with- 
out special papal indult, such as given for the Octave of Corpus 
Christi, except for the purpose of reposition. The Ceremoniale 
Episcoporum (lib. I. cap. 12 n. i). contains about this: Non con- 
gruum^ sed maxime deccns esset, ut in altari, iibi Ss. Sacramentum 
situm est, Missae non celebrarentur, quod antiquitus observatum 
fuisse videtnr. And Clement XL, in his famous instruction of Jan- 
uary 21, 1705, subsequently confirmed by Innocent XIII., Benedict 
XIII. and Clement XII., respecting the celebration of the Forty 
Hours' devotion (§X//.), provides, as of precept, that upon the altar 
of Exposition only the solemn Masses at Exposition and Reposition, 
but no other Masses may be said. It is true, no doubt, that the 
regulation of the Ceremoniale Epp. is only directive, and the In- 
striictio Clementina of precept only for Rome; but there are other 
special decrees of the S. Rit. Congr. by which those regulations are 
made the universally binding law. Thus this Congregation, under date 
of August 9, 1670, ordained: Non lie ere celebrare Missas in altari, 
exposito in eodem Ss. Sacramento, stante praesertim, quod adsint alia 



altari, in quibus celebrari possint^ and again, under date of June 13, 
1671 : Non debet celebrari Missa in altari, ubi est expositum Ss. Sac- 
ramentum, nisi sit pro reponendo. Gardellini, in his commentary 
upon the Instructio Clementina, writes : Certa est igitur regula, quae 
generaliter prohibet Missas in altari, in quo expositum est Sacra- 
mentum. Siquidem duo decrcta ut generalla habenda sunt, quamvis 
prodierint in casibus particularibus. 

The reason for this general law is plain : since Christ is present in 
the Blessed Sacrament, and exposed to the view and for the adora- 
tion of the faithful, it is at least superfluous to call Him, through 
consecration, once more from heaven down upon the same altar for 
the same purpose. 

If, therefore, during exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a Mass 
is to be said, it must be celebrated at an altar other than the altar 
of exposition. It should be remarked that even at another altar 
neither a low nor a high Mass pro Requie may be said, also that in 
private Masses to the orations prescribed by the rubrics the Oratio 
de Ss. Sacramento may be added, and that at the Sanctus and the 
Elevatio the striking of the bell must be omitted. Though these rules 
are explicit and definite, there is even here nulla regula sine excep- 
tione. An exception is permissible by reason of necessity, and also by 
reason of ancient and established custom. A case of necessity, in 
which celebration of holy Mass is allowed before the exposed Blessed 
Sacrament, would be, for instance, if for important reasons holy 
Mass has to be said and there is no other altar in the church. This 
is evident from the provision of the decree of August 9, 1670, and 
it is expressly admitted by Gardellini in the words : Stante praesertim 
quod adsint alia altaria, in quibus celebrari possit. 

In this latter case, when the praeceptum audiendi sacrum presses 
for fulfilment and another church is not in the neighborhood, the 


offering of the holy Sacrifice would even then be permitted on the 
altar of exposition if the other altar is so situated that if Mass is cele- 
brated there it will be necessary to turn the back towards the altar 
of exposition. 

Besides necessity, there excuses from observance of the general 
rule also an ancient custom, difficult to change. Consuetudo, quae 
vere sit immcmorabilis, quaeque tolli nequeat sine populorutn scan- 
dalo et offensionc (Gardellini). This exception received indirect 
approval by the decree of the S. R. Congr. of May 7, 1746. In Poland 
it frequently happened that while the Blessed Sacrament was ex- 
posed, there were at the same altar, in addition to the Mass 
of Exposition, other private Masses said. To the question utrum 
in his Missis debeat fieri commemoratio de eodem Ss. Sacra/inento 
the Congregation answered : Poterit fieri commemoratio de Ss. Sacr. 
durante expositione. By not expressing itself about the existing 
custom of saying Mass at the altar of exposition it tacitly let it be 
understood that it may be tolerated, according to the popular axiom : 
qid tacet consentire videtur. 

Nevertheless, even if an urgens necessitas and a consuetudo vere 
immemorabilis allow of exceptions from the general rule, they do not 
abrogate the latter but rather serve to confirm it. Exceptio Urmat 
regulam. Casus particulares, observes Gardellini, universalem 
legem et regulam non destruunt, neque omnibus aeque casus particu- 
lares possunt aptari, ut aeque omnes ad legem universalem stride 
sequendam non teneantur. Est enim haec regula adeo stricte accura- 
teque servanda, ut nemini liceat ab ea declinare. It is evident from 
what has been said that the celebration upon altars upon which the 
Blessed Sacrament is exposed must be regarded in general as an 
offense against ecclesiastical liturgical ordinances. 

2. Just as impermissible as it is in general to celebrate at an altar 


where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed it is also to administer holy 
Communion from the same, even then if, for some good reason, holy 
Mass has been said there. The poor Clares of Tarentum were by a 
foundation obliged to have on the three days of carnival the Blessed 
Sacrament exposed for adoration in their chapel. As they only had 
one altar, and in order not to be deprived of holy Mass on these 
days, they presented a petition to the Holy See that the celehratio 
Missae might be permitted upon the altar of exposition. The favor 
was granted, but with the expressed condition: dummodo in Missa 
sacra Eucharistia non distrihuatur (November 12, 1831). If it is 
prohibited to distribute holy Communion during holy Mass from the 
altar of exposition, still less may it be distributed outside of holy 
Mass. The reason is obvious : the distribution of holy Communion 
from the altar of exposition would not merely disturb worshipers in 
their devotion, but the priest giving holy Communion would be 
guilty of irreverence by turning his back to the Blessed Sacrament. 
In order that the faithful during exposition may not be deprived of 
holy Communion, the holy Eucharist should be kept, in a ciborium or 
chalice, on a side altar and distributed from there. Innocent XI. 
ordains so in his decree of May 28, 1682 : Quod si sacra communio, 
eodem tempore, quo Ss. Sacramentum expositum est, administranda 
fuerit, id Hat in altari diverse sumendo Ss. Sacramentum ex ciborio, 
et finita Communione reponatur in tabernaculo, aut ita veto tegatur, 
ut conspici non possit. 

If in the church of exposition there is only one altar, must the 
distribution of holy Communion be omitted altogether, or may it in 
this case be done from the altar of exposition? The latter view is 
favored by a decree of the S. R. C. of September 26, 1868, as also by 
the fact that Masses are allowed at the altar of exposition in case of 
necessity or custom. In that case care should be taken that holy 


Communion be distributed as much as possible to the side of the altar 
to avoid turning the back towards the Blessed Sacrament. It is plain 
that, after giving holy Communion, the blessing with the ciborium 
must not be given from the altar of exposition, nor from a side altar. 
Hence it is always a gross offense against liturgical ordinances 
when, no doubt more from lack of information than from indiffer- 
ence, coram exposito Ss. Sacramento, except in cases of necessity, 
holy Communion is administered from the altar of exposition, and 
if even the blessing is given with the ciborium. 

Bernard Schmid, O.S.B. 


Father A. informs his confrater B. that a careful study of the 
rubrics has convinced him that the words: Calicem salutaris acci- 
piam must be spoken while the fragments are collected and wiped 
from the paten into the chalice. On the contrary, Father B. is of 
the opinion, also based on a study of the rubrics, that these words 
are to be spoken after the paten has been purified and while the 
chalice is taken with the right hand. Which of the two views is 
the right one? 

The difference in opinion is caused by an actual difference between 
the rubrics in the RiUis servandus in the Missal, and those found 
in the Canon itself, and thus both priests may quote the rubrics. 
The rubric in the Canon to which Father A. may refer, reads : 
Deinde discooperit calicem, genuHectit, colligit fragmenta, si quae 
sint, extergit patenam super calicem, interim dicens: Quid retribuam 
calicem salutaris accipiam . . . And only then fol- 
lows : Accipit calicem manu dextera et eo se signans dicit: Sanguis 
Domini . . . Contrary to this rubrica specialis the rubrica gen- 
eralis in the Ritus servandus regulates ceremonies and words in the 
following manner: Deinde depositis manibus dicit secreto: Quid 
retribuam . . . retribuit mihi, et interim discooperit calicem, 
genuHectit, surgit, discooperit patenam, inspicit corporale, colligit 
fragmenta cum patena, si quae sunt in eo, patenam quoque diligen- 
ter cum pollice et indice dexterae manus super calicem extergit et 
ipsos digitos, ne quid fragmentorum in eis remaneat. Post cxicr- 
menem patenae iunctis pollicibus et indicibus calicem dextera manu 



infra modum cuppae accipit, sinistra patenam, dicens: caliceni 
salutans. . . . While, therefore, the words Calicem Salutaris, 
according to the special rubrics (infra missem) must be spoken dur- 
ing the extersion of the paten, the rubrica gencralis directs quite 
plainly that these words should be spoken post extersionem patenae. 
It appeared, therefore, to some authorities that it was optional with 
the priest to speak these words either during or after the Extersio 
patenae. This is the opinion of de Herdt, who, in his Prax. S. Lit. 
(tit. /., n. 267), writes: "During the gathering of the particles 
and the extersion of the paten the priest may say the words : Calicem 
Salutaris, in accordance with the rubrics contained in the Ordo 
Missae, according to the general rubrics, however, these words are 
spoken after the purifying of the paten," and in the following para- 
graph (n. 268) he says : "Taking the chalice in his hand the priest 
says the words Calicem Salutaris — unless he has already said them 
while gathering up the particles and purifying the paten." 

Other authorities believe, however, that these words should be 
said after the extersio patenae, when actually taking the chalice. 
Thus teaches Meratus (ad Gavantum. t. I., p. 11. , tit. X. N. 12). This 
is also the opinion of St. Alphonsus and of most rubricists following 
him, thus J. Fornici (Institution, Lit., p. L, c. 31), Jos. Schneider, 
S.J., in his Manuale Sacerdotum, and Hartmann in the RepertO- 
rium. Moreover, Benedict XIV. has defended this view in his book 
De SacriUcio Missae. If number and importance of these authori- 
ties are considered this opinion deserves preference. But it does so 
also for intrinsic reasons. The rubrics in or dine missae are brief 
and find explanation in the rubricis generalibus, which, in our case, 
direct explicitly the order of ceremonies and words, while the spe- 
cial rubrics do this more summarily. Furthermore, the principle that 
actions and words should agree must be considered. This agree- 


nient is present if the words CaHcem Salutaris occipiam are said 
while the hand takes the chalice. Nevertheless, so the Monitore 
Ecclesiastico observes, we should not find fault with one who ad- 
heres to the special rvibrics in or dine missae, because these are 
indeed the weightiest and most authentic guide for the offering up 
of holy Mass. 

Ig. Rieder. 


Father Perplexus, a priest suffering in a high degree of absent- 
mindedness, commits at holy Mass not infrequently small errors and 
various mistakes, which he then strives to remedy in various ways. 
We will quote a few of these errors together with his attempts at 
correction, and examine them critically. 

(i) Now and again it happens that our Father Perplexus, in his 
haste, omits the Gloria, or Credo; if he, directly after the Dominus 
vobiscum, realizes the omission he then recites the Gloria, or Credo, 
without repeating the Dominus vobiscum. 

(2) Occasionally he takes the wrong proper: if then, during the 
Mass, he becomes aware of his error, he is in doubt whether to con- 
tinue the Mass begun, or pass over to the Mass of the day. His 
practise in this respect differs and is uncertain. 

(3) Sometimes he forgets to take a prescribed Collecta and only 
remembers it at the Post-Communio: then he endeavors to make 
good his mistake by supplementing the first Oratio and the Secreta. 

(4) If through forgetfulness he takes the Commiinic antes com- 
mune and recalls at its conclusion that a Communicantes propriwm 
was prescribed, he does it all over by repeating the whole Com.muni-' 
cantes in the proper form. 

(5) Once when at the first consecration he absent-mindedly had 
said the words bibite ex eo, instead of manducate ex hoc, he cor- 
rected himself quickly and then proceeded ; another time, however, 
the same error having happened, he did not consider such a correc- 
tion sufficient, but begins once more with the words Qui pridie, quatn 
pateretur, etc. 




(6) Sometimes the first prayer after the Agnus Dei, omitted in 
Requiem Masses, escapes his attention, if he then becomes aware 
of the omission after the second prayer, he inserts the first prayer 
here and then goes on with the third prayer. 

Now let us examine what is to be thought of these attempts at 
correction made by Father Perplexus. First of all, let us recall the 
three principles which must guide us in judging these cases : 

( I ) Parts of holy Mass that belong to the essence of the Sacrifice 
must, in every case, be repeated if one becomes aware of a mis- 
take before the Mass is finished. (2) Prayers not essential, but 
important, must, in case of a mistake, be repeated if noticed so soon 
that the words still have a proper meaning at that place, and pro- 
vided it can be done without exciting undue comment. (3) Less 
important parts, or prayers, especially such that do not always 
occur in holy Mass, need not to be repeated, if they have been for- 
gotten at their proper places {cf. Ligoufi, Theol. -Moral. I., VI., n. 
403 sq.; Lehmkuhl, Theol. Moral. IL, n, 241 sq.). 

In the light of these principles it is not difficult to judge these 
various cases. Ad. i, Father Perplexus should not have repeated 
the Gloria and Credo because these prayers are not very important 
and do not occur in every Mass : moreover, the repetition of these 
prayers could hardly take place without exciting comment. Lehm- 
kuhl (/. c. n. 242) says about this : Glaria, Credo ef siniilia ne un- 
quani sacerdos resumat, neque epistolam, evangelium, etc., si ununi 
pro altera sumpserit, nisi forte ah initio falsae epistolae, etc., error em 
animadvertat. Ad. 2, In this case Father Perplexus should at all 
times have acted on the principle which applies in this respect to the 
breviary, namely, error corrigatur, ubi deprehenditur, if it could be 
done without comment and without long search. Ad. 3, When one 
notices only at the Postcommunio that an Oratio or Secreta has 


been left out, it is not necessary to repeat them, because, as a rule, 
these prayers have no longer the proper meaning at that time. If 
one remembers at the Secreta that the first Oratio has not been 
recited, then it will not be out of place to make up for it ; but it is 
not necessary in this case. Ad. 4, Father Perplexus need not 
repeat in this case, because there is no essential difference between 
the various Comnmnicantes, and because that which is peculiar to 
this prayer does not belong to the more important parts of holy 
Mass {cf. Lehmkithl, I. c. n. 241). The same rule would apply if 
in regard to the Preface such a mistake happened. Ad. 5, Since 
the words in which Father Perplexus erred do not belong to the 
strictly essential formula of Consecration, it suffices if he simply 
corrects himself as is done generally in speaking or reciting, and 
which is quite intelligible. This would even suffice in the strictly 
essential words of the Consecration. But here, where absolute 
security is necessary, it would be advisable ad cautelam to begin all 
over again ; if one, for instance, had said calix, instead of corpus, 
he should recommence with the words Hoc est enim, etc. Ad. 6, 
The attempt at correction made by Father Perplexus in this case 
may be regarded as permissible, as this prayer is not out of order 
even in second place, and gives there a good meaning. 

Similar faults, or errors, in the prayers of the Mass, of which* 
various others may occur, should be judged by the rules given 
above, and remedied accordingly. 

Dr. Joseph Niglutsch. 




A certain pastor learns that one of his parishioners (i. e., living 
within the limits of the parish), who, although baptized a Catholic, 
had fallen away from the faith and who has often, by word and deed, 
declared himself a free-thinker, has fallen seriously ill. Since the 
man has for many years not attended church, and kept aloof from all 
exercises of Catholic worship, the pastor is in doubt whether he is 
obliged to exercise the solicitation for the spiritual welfare of his 
flock even in this case. 

There can be no reasonable doubt but that the pastor must offer 
spiritual aid to this sick man, and should employ all his zeal in 
order to save this soul. Even if the man has neglected the faith and 
has in every sense of the word become an apostate, still he has, on 
account of the ineffaceable character of Baptism, never ceased to be 
a member, though a dead one, of the Church, and, since he did never 
formally join another creed, also a member of the parish in which 
he lives. For this reason the pastor is obliged ex officio to ofifer him, 
even if not sent for, spiritual assistance, the same as to any other sick 
parishioner. He should not hesitate, therefore, to visit the sick man 
for this purpose. But since here is the object a work as important 
as difficult, namely, the conversion and rescue of a soul hardened in 
unbelief, he should seek, first of all, by fervent prayer the necessary 
assistance from above. If circumstances permit, he should turn his 
steps first to the tabernacle of the Lord, in order to commend him- 
self and the sick man to Him who can give counsel and potent aid, 



and who knows how to turn the hearts of men. Having thus prayed 
ardently for assistance, and having also asked for the sick man the 
grace of conversion, he may with confidence in Divine succor en- 
deavor to get into the presence of this parishoner. Very likely 
admission to the sick man will be denied him by members of the 
household. In this case he should not give up without pointing out 
to the relatives the heavy responsibility they are taking upon them- 
selves, and draw their attention to the fact that if the sick man dies 
in refusal of the holy Sacraments he cannot be buried in consecrated 
ground. If his admonitions remain unheeded he should leave with- 
out bitterness, but manifesting regret. If, however, access to the 
patient is secured, the pastor should greet him with the expression of 
kindly S3'mpathy, and unless there is pcriculum in mora, casual in- 
quiries about his condition may open the conversation. Only after he 
has put the patient at ease, he will lead the conversation to the actual 
aim of his visit and ollfer his priestly services. The manner in which 
this offer is received will generally indicate what hope may be enter- 
tained for success. But even if in consequence of a cold refusal there 
seems to be little hope, still the priest must not give up so quickly, 
but should strive, by a reference to the serious situation rather than 
by admonition, and by expression of solicitous affection, to lead the 
sick man to better thought. If, despite all this, the visit remains un- 
successful, let him take his leave without reproach or threat, but 
with renewed assurance of tender sympathy and with cordial wishes 
for physical and spiritual welfare. And since real love will hope 
against hope, let not the zealous pastor content himself with one 
attempt and visit, but after repeated recourse to the Saviour in the 
Blessed Sacrament, he may venture, if possible, a second and third 
visit. Should the sick man then in the most positive manner declare 
that in no case will he receive the Sacraments, perhaps even forbid 


further visits, then the pastor, conscious of having done his utmost, 
may discontinue his visits, but, before departing, should express his 
heartfelt sorrow that the patient in the most important and finally 
decisive moment of his life rejects Divine mercy, and impressively 
give words to the fear that the patient may soon have to face the 
justice of Him whose mercy he now scorns. 

Let us suppose now that the sick man gives evidence ; from the be- 
ginning or in response to subsequent efforts, that the pastor's earnest 
solicitations will probably be rewarded with success. What is the 
pastor to do in order to conduct this most hopeful beginning to a 
happy end? Giving thanks to God, and with heartfelt prayers for 
continued assistance, he must, above all, by dwelling on the mercy of 
God, seek to inspire confidence and dispose the patient for the re- 
ception of the holy Sacraments. Since the person through openly 
declared apostasy has incurred excommunication specially reserved 
to the Pope, the priest, unless there is periculum in mora, should pro- 
cure the necessary facultas absolvendi. If this cannot be done, on 
account of urgent danger of death, then he may without special 
faculty absolve the sick person directly from the excommunication, 
but he must insist that the person renounce his errors publicly, i. e., 
before at least two witnesses, and manifest his reconciliation with 
the Church. If circumstances (necessity and possibility) suggest it, 
he will instruct the patient briefly in the nature and efifects of the 
Sacraments, as also the conditions required for receiving them, and 
administer them with perhaps even greater gentleness and indul- 
gence than he would to other parishoners in danger of death. If 
the sick man recovers from his illness he need not confess the sin of 
apostasy, by which censure is incurred, •either to the Pope or his 
delegate, as he has in articulo mortis already been directly absolved 
from the same. It is necessary for him, however, to apply per episto- 


lam, personally or through the confessor, to the Holy See and give 
notice of the absolution received, in order thereby to demonstrate 
obedience towards the ecclesiastical laws and to receive whatever 
penance may be given him. If he omits to do this within a month's 
time he will again incur the censure. The Congr. R. et. Univ. In- 
quisitionis has under date of June 25, 1886, decided in answer to 
inquiry: In casibus vere urgentioribus, in quibus absolutio differri 
neqiieat abseque periculo gravis scandali vel infamiae, super quo con- 
feisariorum conscientia oneratur, dart posse absolutionem, inju^nctis 
de jure injungendis, a censuris etiam speciali modo Summo Ponti- 
£ci reservatis, sub poena tamen reincidentiae in easdem censuras, nisi 
saltern infra mensem per epistolam et per medium confessarii abso- 
lutus occurrat ad S. Sedem. 

In order not only to protect the convalescent against relapse, but 
also to promote his spiritual life and to assist him in making repara- 
tion for any scandal given, the priest should devote to him, without 
becoming obtrusive, some of his time by visits, and may render 
further assistance by offering appropriate reading, and by remem- 
bering him especially at holy Mass, ut Deus confirmet quod operatus 
est in eo. 

Should the sick man die without becoming reconciled with the 
Church, Christian burial must be refused him. If, on account of 
this, the pastor should encounter much difficulty, he should submit 
the case to the ordinary. 

Bernard Schmid, O.S.B. 


Father Anselmus is the spiritual director and regular confessor 
in a convent, the members of which belong to a recent congregation 
of women, undertaking the care of the sick in their hospital as well 
as in homes of the immediate vicinity. The following case happens : 
Two sisters have been nursing a wealthy woman at her nearby home. 
The patient, partly recovered, is advised to take certain baths, 
and she asks and receives permission for the two nuns to accompany 
her on the journey. On the way, in the town B., her condition be- 
comes worse, and the journey has to be interrupted. The two sisters, 
now nursing her again, report the fact to their spiritual director 
and request instructions for making their weekly Confession. 

What answer should be given ? The case is somewhat perplexing 
to Father Anselmus, for the town B. is the see of another diocese; 
in his own diocese the answer would be easy, furthermore, the sisters 
know the diocesan regulation according to which cloistered women 
when sojourning anywhere in the diocese may confess to the local 
pastor, or to a priest approved for hearing Confessions of nuns if such 
a one be at the place. Concerning another diocese the diocesan 
regulation says nothing, which is natural, since the bishop has no 
authority to make regulations in another diocese. Some hand-books 
advise that the priest should ask nuns who sojourn outside the 
cloister and come to Confession, whether by their rule they are 
allowed while abroad to confess to any priest, and if so their Con- 
fession may be heard without hesitation. It is here the question what 
the sisters would have to answer. 



Father Anselmus reasons as follows : My sisters are not moniales, 
in the strict sense of the word, but members of a congregation. 
Strictly speaking, the ecclesiastical precepts regarding the reception 
of the Sacrament of Penance by nuns are not applicable to them, 
and they may consequently confess to any priest of jurisdiction in 
his particular diocese. Opposed to this view, however, is the fact 
that bishops appoint confessors also for these sisters, and bishops 
have in their diocese the disposition over jurisdiction of Confession. 
It will not do to disregard this fact. Finally, a happy thought came 
to Father Anselmus : Whoever has the ordinaria iurisdictio can 
exercise the same everywhere over those in his charge without re- 
striction as to place, thus a pastor may hear the Confessions of his 
own parishioners anywhere. Being the confcssarius ordinarius, thus 
Father Anselmus reasons further, I can therefore hear the Con- 
fessions of my sisters wherever they may happen to be, consequently 
also in B. The trip to B. is short and convenient, moreover Father 
Anselmus has frequently other business there. The mansion occu- 
pied by this wealthy patient has a chapel, and Father Anselmus can 
there with all comfort hear Confessions. Notice to the pastor is thus 
made unnecessary. What is to be thought of this disposition? 

The case suggests the following questions: i. What is the law 
of the jurisdiction of Confession regarding members of recent con-' 
gregations of women ? 2. What priests may hear the Confessions of 
sisters sojourning in another diocese, or, generally, outside their 
convent? 3. Has the Confcssarius ordinarius a regular jurisdic- 
tion? 4. May the holy Sacrament of Penance be administered in a 
private chapel? 

Ad. I. In these days diocesan bishops, as a rule, appoint for con- 
gregations of women special confessors, ordinary as well as extraor- 
dinary, in the same way as canonically provided for real nuns, 


It cannot be doubted that this usage is very beneficial ; it also cor- 
responds to the views of the Apostolic See, as repeatedly made 
known in decision of inquiries in this respect (See Miiller, Theolo- 
gia mor. 1887, /. Ill, p. 326). According to the present status of 
Canon Law it is certain, furthermore, that bishops have the right in 
their dioceses to restrict even a pastor's regular jurisdiction of Con- 
fession in respect to congregations of women, which is self-evident 
where delegated jurisdiction is concerned. In dioceses, therefore, 
where such restriction obtains, by reason of the appointment of 
special confessors for these religious, the ordinary priest has no 
jurisdiction over them, he can therefore neither lawfully nor validly 
absolve them, just as in the case of real orders of women. 

Ad. 2. About the answer to this question there can be no doubt. 
Religious women sojourning outside their convent can be absolved 
by every priest who has the faculty to hear Confessions validly and 
lawfully ; the canonical restrictions of jurisdiction over cloistered 
women apply only at their convent; this is presumed in all related 
papal precepts, and a priest has no jurisdiction to hear Confessions 
of nuns at their convent unless so appointed. There is even a de- 
cision of the Holy See, of the year 1852, which directly confirms this 
view, and according to which nuns sojourning outside the convent 
may make their Confession to any priest approved to hear Confes- 
sions. (Responsum S.C. Ep. et Reg., August 26, 1852.) If this is the 
rule in respect to real nuns, it is all the more applicable to members 
of congregations. There can, of course, be meant only a priest 
authorized to hear Confessions in that particular diocese. 

Of course these principles suffer limitations in dioceses where 
special regulations exist for religious women who receive the Sac- 
rament of Penance away from their house, as in fact is the case in 
the diocese of Fra. Anselmus, for there only priests specially so 

3i6 ' THE CASUIST— VOL. Ill 

designated have jurisdiction over these nuns, and any others not 
only are not allowed to absolve, but cannot do so validly. 

It follows that the question which, according to many authorities, 
should be asked of nuns under such circumstances, respecting their 
rule regarding Confessions, has no practical value ; at most the 
rule would only refer to the permissibility of the act on part of the 
nuns. That the latter know their rule thoroughly and keep it may be 
presumed. The jurisdiction to hear such Confessions depends upon 
other things which the priest has to know. As concerns our case, 
Father Anselmus might have easily removed the difficulty, had he 
looked into the matter more carefull}-. 

Ad. 3. Father Anselmus, though he has the title of ordinary con- 
fessor, has by no means on that account ordinary jurisdiction. The 
word "ordinary," in this connection, means, that he may exercise his 
office ordinarily, or regularly, while an extraordinary confessarius 
acts only at times, therefore not ordinarily. Father Anselmus is 
in reality only delegated, with jurisdiction for three years, by the 
bishop, who possesses the ordinary jurisdiction for Confession over 
the nuns of his diocese. Father Anselmus perhaps wrongly ap- 
plied the usual definition of the iurisdictis ordinaria, as one pos- 
sessed by a priest in virtue of his ecclesiastical office. His jurisdic- 
tion is only a delegated one, subject to very special canonical rules. 
(See Lehmkuhl, Theol. Mor. 1885, vol. 11. De ilia iurisdictione dele- 
gata, quae lege speciali regitur, punct. II. p. 288.) The conclusion 
arrived at by Father Anselmus was therefore quite incorrect, and 
hence It follows that he absolved without jurisdiction, and therefore 
invalidly. Not even can he avail of the principle stated above, suh. 
IL, because he was not privileged to hear Confessions in the diocese 
of B. 

Ad. 4. Father Anselmus arranged matters very conveniently 


for himself, but he violated the ecclesiastical precepts concerning 
the place for the reception of the Sacrament of Penance. Accord- 
ing to them, Confessions can only be heard in a church or a public 
oratory, cases of necessity excepted. In private oratories the Sacra- 
ment of Penance can be administered only by special permission 
of the bishop. The chapel in which Anselmus heard Confessions was 
not really a chapel, because celebration of holy Mass was not, as 
appears from facts stated, allowed there, and, consequently, it cannot 
even be considered a proper place to hear Confessions, except in a 
case of necessity, which here did not prevail. In a church the con- 
fessional is the only place intended for the administration of the 
holy Sacrament of Penance, and particularly in the case of female 
penitents this is made a strict order by ecclesiastical legislation, and 
in the case of nuns it is, moreover, decreed : Ex declaratione S. C. 
praecipitur, confessionalia monialimn amoveri a sacrisHa vel aliis 
locis occultis, sed collocari in exteriorihus ecclesiae. In necessitate 
tamen licet audire confessiones in alio loco, modo vitetur aspectus 
confessarii et monialis. {S. Liguori, Theol. mor. I. VI. n. 577, 4.) 

Dr. Johann Kubicek. 


Father Blasius, a newly ordained priest, who, after his first Mass^ 
spent some time in his native parish, and had as yet not received 
jurisdiction, was requested by the pastor, the only priest in the 
parish, to take the Viaticum to a certain Augustina who was danger- 
ously ill and who had made her Confession the evening before. As 
Father Blasius entered the sick room, Augustina said: Father, I 
wish to confess once more. Father Blasius was perplexed. Augus- 
tina, who, the previous day, had been at the point of death, had 
rallied and it was probable that she would live a few days longer. 
The articulus mortis, in which in absence of a priest with jurisdic- 
tion any priest may absolve, is not present, and Father Blasius does 
not know what to do. To omit giving her holy Communion would 
be noticed and would cause comment, nor could he send for the 
pastor. Father Blasius resolved to act as follows: He consoled 
Augustina, and took great pains to dispose her for perfect contri- 
tion, and then having in his opinion succeeded, he administered 
the Viaticum to her. Now he asks whether he has done right. 

We must say: No. Since Father Blasius did not hear Augus- 
tina's Confession, he could not know whether she did not have' 
grievous sins upon her conscience; again, the Confession made the 
day before might have been a sacrilegious one. If this were the 
case then perfect contrition would not suffice. By a rigid law 
of the Church (Cone. Trid. Sess. XIII., cap. 7 and can. 11) it is 
prescribed, that the state of grace, as an indispensable condition for 
the worthy reception of the holy Eucharist, must be gained not 
merely by perfect contrition, but by sacramental Confession and 



absolution, with the sole exception of a case of necessity where no 
confessor is available. This case of necessity did not prevail here, 
because even if the pastor could not be had, Father Blasius could 
in periculo mortis absolve. Father Blasius perhaps refers to Gury, 
who, in his Compendium II., n. 498, in a note says: Ad quaesitum: 
Quid, si in loco, ubi, ut par est, mos exsistit, aegrorum confessiones 
ante delationem ss. Sacramenti excipiendi, inHrmus, antea confessus 
ct jam jam per s. synaxim reficiendus, v. g. eo quod confessiones 
praeteriate invalidae fuerint, iterum confessioneni petit, quae sine 
infama aegroti audiri nequit, cum prolixior futura sit? res pond et 
Alasia: Si sacerdos, qui Sacramentum defert, ipse ad confessiones 
approbatus est, audita aliquo pec cat o graviori inHrmum {quern 
dispositum supponimus) absolvat, ipsi s. eucharistiam praebeat et 
ss. Sacramento in ecclesian delato redeat^ integram confessiorem 
excepturus. — Item iniirmum absolvere potest sacerdos, licet non ap- 
probatus, cum urget casus (ob mortis perictdum). — Si vero casuis 
non urget et sacerdos Hie approbatione caret, sed alius approbatus 
praesto est, hie accersatur, ut confessionem excipiat; secus ipse non 
approbatus iniirmum brevi adjuvct ad actum perfectae contritionis 
eliciendum et s. commumionem illi praebeat. According to this 
Father Blasius would appear to have proceeded correctly. But 
apart from the fact that we venture to doubt the a)rrectness of the 
above opinion, we dispute the similarity of the case. In the cited 
case reference to a Confession quae sine infamia aegroti audiri 
nequit, while in our case we are unable to discover any danger of 
defamation if Father Blasius had absolved her. Father Blasius, 
hence, should not have been satisfied with the contritio of Augus- 
tina. Moreover, it is uncertain whether Augustina's contrition was 
really a perfect one, and must not the salvation of the dying be 
cared for in the best possible way ? It occurs to us also that Father 



Blasius appears to make a vast difference between articulns and 
periculum mortis. He is wrong in doing this (compare S. Lig. Lib. 
6. n. 561 : Gury II., n. 551 ; Ballerini-Palmieri V., n. 590, and 
others). If in periculum mortis one had to await the actual articu- 
lus mortis in order, for instance, to be able to absolve a patient from 
a reserved case, many would die without absolution. The Church 
bestows, in danger of death, such far-reaching authority ne quis 
pereat. This must be well remembered. For this reason the peri- 
culum mortis and the articulus mortis are considered of equal 
weight. Even if there was a possibility that Augustina might yet 
live for a few days, still this could not be expected with certainty. 
Very often it happens in the case of very sick persons that an ap- 
parent improvement immediately precedes death. 

What should Father Blasius have done? First of all he should 
have asked Augustina privately ziohy she desired to confess again, 
since she had done so only the day before. To such question several 
answers are possible. We will take three of them into considera- 
tion : (i) She might have referred to the fact that every worthy 
reception of the holy Sacrament of Penance increases sanctifying 
grace and enhances eternal glory, and, therefore, wished to confess 
once more. In this case Father Blasius would have had good 
reason not to hear the Confession, because the Church gives him 
jurisdiction only in case of necessity, and a case of necessity was 
not present here. (2) Augustina might have stated, *T forgot a 
sin yesterday and it makes me uneasy." In this case, too. Father 
Blasius could have refused to hear the Confession, because the Con- 
fession was not necessary for the worthy reception of the holy 
Viaticum. He should have informed the patient that she need not 
fear that the Confession was unworthy ex conscientia erronca. ^^^o 
in Confession forgets a grievous sin inculpabilitcr, and is otherwise 


disposed and receives absolution, is justified non per solam contri- 
tionem sed per sacramentalem ahsolutionem. He is absolved from 
the forgotten sin, though only indirectly. To confess the same, 
especially before receiving holy Communion, in order to be directly 
absolved therefrom, is de consilio, but not de praecepto. . Augustina 
might have confessed it after receiving holy Viaticum, when the 
pastor could be sent for. 

3. Augustina may say : "The reason why I want to confess again 
I can only reveal in Confession itself." In this case Father Blasius 
should have heard the Confession. It might transpire in the Con- 
fession that Augustina had been ashamed to confess her sins to the 
pastor, that, for this reason, she had concealed grievous sins and 
made a sacrilegious Confession, or it might be that her Confession 
had not been made at all because as the pastor, as complex, had no 
jurisdiction over her praesente in loco alio sacerdote, and perhaps 
the whole proceeding had been designed as an expedient. In both 
cases Father Blasius could and should certainly have absolved the 
well-disposed Augustina, even though the pastor had been in imme- 
diate proximity, so that he easily might have been called. Finally, it 
might be the case that Augustina had committed a grievous sin since 
her Confession the day before. This case is the most difficult to solve. 
There is no doubt that Father Blasius could have absolved Augustina 
if the pastor was some distance away, an hour's travel, perhaps ; but 
whether he could absolve her if the pastor was near enough to be 
called is the question. We should have advised Father Blasius to 
give absolution, for, in the first place, there was really great danger 
of defamation for Augustina if the pastor had to be called to absolve 
her. People might suspect a very grievous matter if so much agitation 
was observed. The approved priest was in this case physically, but 
not morally, present. This is equivalent to his not being present at all. 


Consequently, the simplex sacerdos could here absolve in periculo 
mortis. And, secondly, we claim the view that a casual priest could 
absolve a dying person, therefore in periculo mortis, also praesente 
alio sacerdote approhato qui v, gr. vel commode acciri possit vel 
etiam in eadem domo hahihet, is not without probability. St, Al- 
phonsus, it is true, regards {Lib. VI. n. 562) the opinion that such 
absolution is not permissible the communissima, and one should not 
deviate from the same without rationabilis causa, but the opposite 
opinion is also held and defended by many and prominent authorities. 
St, Alphonsus himself (/. c.) enumerates expresse sixteen such 
authors, and their number is therewith not at all exhausted. We will 
quote here the answer of the renowned theologian. Cardinal Lugo, 
to Aloysius Turrianus, who had declared the latter opinion to be 
improbabilis. He answers as follows : Unde constat, excessisse in 
censura hujus opinionis Luisium Turrianum, dicendo, hanc opinio- 
nem esse improbabilem . . . Certe sententia, quam tot ct tarn graves 
Doctores tenent, negari non potest, quin probabilis sit^ praesertim 
cum fundetur in verbis Tridentini, quae non facile explicari possunt 
ah adversariis. Viva regards the former opinion not as communis- 
sima, but only as communior, and even St, Alphonsus uses a very 
moderate expression by saying (/, c.) : Pufo non recedendum a 
prima sententia. Father Blasius, according to our view, might have- 
acted on the second opinion, since the same is probable and because 
there was a rationabilis causa to depart from the more exacting 
opinion. This rationabilis causa we find in the fact that public notice 
was to be avoided, and also in the fact that Augustina otherwise 
would have been obliged to confess the same sins once more, al- 
thought she was disposed to receive absolution and entitled to it. 

The Congregation of the Sacred Office issued the following deci- 
sion on July 29, 1891 : Non sunt inquietandi, qui tenent validam esse 



absolutionem in articula mortis a sacerdote non approhato^ etiam 
quando facile advocari seu adesse potuisset sacerdos approbatus; 
nee qui tenent validam esse absolutionem in eodem articulo mortis 
concessam a peccatis reservatis, sive simpliciter sive cum censura, 
per sacerdotem non habentcm jurisdictionem in reservata, etiamsi 
advocari sen adesse facile potuisset sacerdos habens praedictam juris- 

Prof. Joseph Weiss. 


It is the strict and sacred duty of the confessor to observe in- 
violable silence in regard to everything heard in Confession, as far 
as it in any way relates to sin, and to avoid everything that directly 
or indirectly might lead to a revelation of what has been confessed, 
or to any embarrassment for his penitent. Towards the latter the 
confessor must not in any way let his conduct outside the con- 
fessional be guided by what he has heard him confess in the tribunal 
of Penance. Is the confessor obliged, in regard to knowledge gained 
in Confession (the sins of a penitent) to preserve secrecy even 
toward himself? This theoretically not unimportant, and practically 
essential, question may be illustrated by an example, and then argued 
by the facts. 

A confessor hears of grievous and scandalous sins in the Con- 
fession of a penitent unknown to him. A curiosity to know who this 
penitent may be causes the confessor to take steps to ascertain the 
identity of this person. Has the confessor, by this effort, committed 
a sin, and of what kind? It is presumed here that a violation of 
the sigillum sacramentale ^ in the ordinary sense, has not taken place. 
We answer : 

I. It is almost certain that the confessor trespassed against charity. 
Indeed, there may be cases (if in very grave sins a penitent has 
special interest not to be recognized) in which such conduct of a 
confessor must be considered a grievous sin against charity. 

II. The decision whether the confessor has also sinned against 
justice, in the sense of detractio, and against the Sacrament, by way 
of a fractio sigilli sacramentalis depends upon whether the penitent 



by making Confession resigns his right to a good reputation, as far 
as the confessor is concerned, or not. The following points seem 
to speak for the first supposition. 

1. The Sacrament of Penance is carried out in the manner of a 
tribunal. In no tribunal has the accused — be the proceeding public 
or not, be the verdict made public or not — the right to remain un- 
known to the judge. 

2. No fear, however well founded, of losing the good opinion of 
the priest by confessing sins can excuse from the obligation of con- 
fessing or from the integrity of the Confession. 

3. In order to ascertain whether, in a certain instance, a law or 
commandment holds good, it is to be considered whether this law or 
commandment applies under all ordinary circumstances. If this be 
not the case, then in general the non-existence of a law or a com- 
mandment may be concluded. Ordinarily, however, the confessor 
does know his penitent (except in large cities), and the contrary 
is usually the exception, 

4. Formerly there was the obligation, at least at stated times, to 
confess to one's parish priest (pastor), and the meaning of still 
existing reservations is, indeed, that such penitents have to present 
themselves in person before the bishop (Pope) to receive absolution. 
That under such conditions an incognito is not easy to maintain is 
evident. It seems to follow that the Church does not make provision 
that the penitent remain unknown to the confessor. 

5. If we would recognize it as an actual right of the penitent that 
the confessor in the above case, and in similar cases, must avoid all 
inquiry as to the name of the same, then this right would have to be 
accorded to all penitents. This would be in contradiction to the view 
and practise of learned and conscientious priests, who do not hesi- 
tate, upon occasion, to inquire for the names of penitents. 


III. To these arguments it may be objected: 

1. The comparison is not justified. In a court an exterior act is 
performed, the justice of which must be publicly perceptible, an act 
that entails public consequences in which the knowledge of the 
personality of the accused is almost inevitably necessary ; in the Sac- 
rament of Penance there is judgment made only in regard to the 
inner life ; there are no consequences regarding the standing of the 
penitent in society; his name plays no part; and for this reason the 
Sacrament of itself does not violate such a right of the penitent, nor 
bestow it upon the confessor. 

2. If the commandment of Confession and of its integrity is so 
strict that before it the protection of the good name of the penitent 
with regard to the confessor must yield, it does not follow that 
regard on part of the confessor for the reputation of the penitent 
may be left out of consideration if the administration of the Sacra- 
ment does not compel it. 

3. This principle may probably govern when there is question 
of gaining a right, of establishing a new obligation; not, however, 
when the application of an already existing right is concerned, of an 
already existing obligation. Of course the penitent through Confes- 
sion gains no new right to his good name, but he retains his old 
right so long as it is not abrogated by the collision of right and duty. 

4. This proves only that the Church, in respect to the Sacrament 
of Penance, may make laws without giving heed to the guarding of 
the penitent's good repute with the confessor. Compare the above 
objection to 2. Furthermore, the rights given the faithful in these 
times in regard to the choice of the spiritual director, and the present 
usage in regard to reserved cases, shows what tender regard the 
Church manifests for the honor of penitents. 

5. The reason of the absolute necessity of complete and uncondi- 


tional secrecy regarding that what is heard in Confession, and in any 
way relates to sin, is not merely the guarding of the penitent's honor, 
but also regard for the manifold consequences that would arise from 
any kind of permission to reveal such matter. Such consequences 
are not anticipated in our case (if the secret is faithfully observed), 
and there exists here only the consideration for the penitent's honor. 
And this is the standard for an obligation of the confessor in this 
connection. By venial sins the confessor's regard for a penitent 
is hardly lessened, and even in the case of grievous sins it is not 
always seriously injured. It is, indeed, held by many theologians 
that by communicating a grievous sin of a neighbor to a trustworthy 
person where no danger of further disclosure is to be feared, no 
serious injury to the good reputation takes place, and therefore no 
grievous sin. Furthermore, the confessor is aware not merely of the 
sin, but also of contrition and absolution, and in his eyes even a 
great sinner has, perhaps, gained more than lost by the Confession. 
However, in judging this matter, the ordinary view of what is 
dishonorable or not, and the penitent's own view thereon, is more 
to be considered than the merciful viewpoint of the priest. Stress 
must finally be laid upon the fact that while the penitent frequently 
voluntarily renounces all claims to the good opinion of the con- 
fessor, in the case of venial sins especially, but also in the case of 
grievous sins, it must be remembered that this is not always the 
case, that often penitents, so as not to lose the personal esteem 
of their confessor, will make great sacrifices in order to find a priest 
to whom they are unknown. From these arguments it seems proper 
to draw these conclusions : 

(a) It cannot be proven that the penitent by making Confession 
eo ipso renounces his claim upon the esteem of the confessor. That 
he frequently does not intend this is well known. 


(b) Ascertaining the name of a penitent means, under circum- 
stances, the loss of the confessor's esteem. 

(c) The confessor, who, induced by the contents of the sacra- 
mental Confession, takes steps to procure for himself the knowledge 
of the penitent's name, misuses, if none of the mentioned, justifying, 
excuses exist, the Sacrament for the defamation of the penitent in 
his (the confessor's) eyes. There is then present the detractio, with 
the special inalitia of the fractio sigilli. 

The application of these conclusions to question 2 of our case is 

The matter assumes another aspect if the confessor seeks informa- 
tion respecting the person of the penitent, not on account of the 
matter confessed, but for other reasons, even if he remembers that 
in the Confession grievous and scandalous sins were mentioned. 
From the standpoint of justice this cannot be designated as unlawful. 
For, in the first place, the act of going to Confession is an exterior 
act that may be observed, and which obliges therefore not to secrecy ; 
furthermore, the penitent, while not losing the right respecting his 
honor through his Confession, does not gain a new right, so that the 
confessor is not prevented from doing something which he con- 
cluded to do uninfluenced by anything he has heard in Confession. 

This case — special attention should be paid to this — is only ap- 
parently identical with the first mentioned, but differs from it in 
the motive. In the one case (second case) the inquiry is, who is he 
who performed the exterior action of the reception of the Sacrament. 
In the other (first case), however, the inquiry is, who made this 
particular Confession — who is the one who declared himself guilty of 
these scandalous sins — and this latter is manifestly trespassing the 
sacred precincts of the Sacrament. Of course, in practise the bounds 
between the lawful and unlawful are not always easy to draw ; but 


that is not an objection against the accuracy of our argument. It 
may be rightly expected that a priest, worthy of the name of con- 
fessor, will willingly impose a sacrifice upon himself for the honor 
of his penitent, excepting naturally cases where just the priest's 
reserve might be interpreted to the prejudice of the penitent and 
thus might lead to an indirect and exterior fractio sigilli. 

Ambrose Runggaldier, O.F.M. 



Caius received a watch as a present from Titus, and now dis- 
covers with certainty that Titus was not the rightful owner. He asks 
his confessor for instructions regarding a possible obligation of 
restitution devolving upon him. Caius is lawful owner of the object, 
of the watch, if he has had possession of the same honae fidei for 
the term provided by law. In many places the law provides a period 
of six years for this purpose, in the case of movable objects. Apart 
from such legal title Caius is the owner of the watch, moreover, if 
he obtained the same at a public auction, or by purchase in any way 
whatsoever. If Caius has not possessed the watch for the legal 
term, nor acquired it in any of the lawful ways just mentioned, he 
is not the lawful owner and must, as honest possessor {possessor 
honae iidei), make restitution to the rightful owner. If the owner 
is known, and as Caius has received the watch as a present, he must 
immediately restore it to the owner ; this is evident. But if he has 
acquired the watch by purchase he may, if there is no other means 
of recovering the purchase price, return the watch to the former 
unrightful possessor, and reclaim the purchase money ; in other 
words, he should rescind the deal. Even though Lacroix (i. m. p. 2, 
n. 100-103) states the opinion, that the object must be restored to 
the rightful owner, if known, even if there be danger of not recover- 
ing compensation, because it is unjust to make once more doubtful 
the return to the owner, or because one, in order to save one's own 
garment, may not throw that of another into the fire, yet such re- 
nowned authorities as St. Alphonsus and Cardinal Lugo support the 



opinion that the obHgation of restoration is not certain, indeed that 
the permissibiHty to rescind the deal, by returning the object to the 
thief against restoration of the purchase price, is more probable. (L. 
///. 569.) In proof thereof St. Alphonsus reasons: I am not per se 
obliged to maintain the property of another to my own prejudice, 
and hence I may allow that the thief gets possession of the object 
in question, so that I may not suffer injury to my property, just as 
when finding money in the public street, and having picked it up for 
the owner, I may put it down again (even at the danger that some 
thief may get it), if I expected injury from taking it in keeping. 
Furthermore, I have the right to rescind a contract invalid in radice, 
even though through the rescinding per accidens praeter intentionem 
a third party should suffer. Alkid est rem alterius aiiferre, aliud 
non servare. Aliud damnum alteri inferre^ aliud damnum alterius 

If the owner cannot be ascertained, then the position of Caius is 
the same as that of a finder of lost articles. If there is any hope of 
ascertaining the owner, inquiries for him must be made, the finder in 
the meantime taking care of the article ; but if not, the finder may 
keep it and do with it as he pleases. E ita fert usus universalis. 
(Marc /, 999.) 

George Freund, C.SS.R. 


Titus travels for a large business house. He lives very sparingly 
on his business trips in order not to make large expenses for his 
firm. This is known to his wife, who often upbraids him for it. In 
order to make things comfortable for her husband, at least during 
the days he spends with his family, she takes, every time he returns 
from a trip, secretly about a dollar from the money he brings back. 
This amount is then by Titus included in the expenses, in the belief 
that he has spent it on the trip. The wife has been doing this for 
some twenty years, and has in this manner appropriated altogether 
some three hundred dollars of the firm's money. She now makes 
known to the confessor that she has heretofore taken this money 
bona Hdc, but that she has doubts now whether she is really allowed 
to do this in future, and what is to be done about the past? What 
decision must the confessor give? 

Since the woman had always acted in the belief that it was quite 
proper for her to take a small sum from her husband's pocket for 
the purpose indicated, she has not been guilty of sin. She showed , 
her good faith also in submitting the matter to her confessor at once 
when she became possessor dubiae -fidei. 

In regard to an obligation of restitution we think we should dis- 
criminate. The contract that Titus made with his firm may provide 
that Titus can place to the firm's account only money really ex- 
pended on his trips. If this be the case Titus has claim only to his 
actual outlay; if he charges more, there would be a violation of 
justice, involving obligation of restitution. It is a matter of in- 



difference whether Titus would have been justified in spending 
more for his sustenance, if, according to his agreement, he can 
charge only what he actually spends. If he charges more, he ap- 
propriates unrightful property. Had he expended more upon the 
trips the firm would have had to bear the higher expense, and Titus 
could have charged it to the firm with good conscience. But as 
he has not expended it, he is not allowed to add anything to the 
amount of the actual expenses and charge it to the firm. Since 
Titus has no right to such an added amount, his wife has neither 
the right to employ such money for the good of her husband. If she 
does it she is guilty of theft, and obliged, objectively, to restore the 
unjustly acquired property. 

The agreement of the traveling man with the firm, however, may 
be so worded that Titus may charge to the firm's account whatever 
he requires for his support on the trip without wanting of anything. 
If, in the case of such an agreement, Titus was unusually econom- 
ical on his trips, if he scarcely allowed himself the most necessary, 
there would be no violation of justice if he saved, by an extraor- 
dinary economy to which he was not obliged, an amount to be 
used in his household, and charge it to the firm. He was, according 
to the agreement, entitled to larger expenses, and for this reason 
may keep for himself that which he legitimately might have spent 
but did not. Since in this case no wrong would be done to the firm, 
there would be no obligation of restitution for Titus. If the husband 
is, therefore, allowed to keep for himself whatever he might properly 
have expended and charge it to the firm, neither does the wife 
violate justice, if she takes part of that amount, or all of it, from 
her husband's pocket and uses it for his welfare, although she be- 
comes therewith the cause of a charge to the firm. In this case the 
wife would, for this reason, not be obliged to make restitution. She 


is to admonished, however, to discontinue her practise, or to tell 
her husband about it and be guided by his instruction. 

Is, however, the agreement worded as supposed in the first place, 
and if there is present the obligation of restitution, it must be 
ascertained whether the wife is not, after all, released from this ob- 
ligation. Frequently it will be impossible for a wife to make resti- 
tution, especially when it is a matter, as in our case, of a not 
inconsiderable sum. To make the husband aware of the facts would 
not only be a hardship, but probably lead to strife in the family, and 
would probably not bring about the intended result — restitution by 
the husband. Apart from these difficulties, which of themselves re- 
lease the wife, we think that in this case there would apply what 
moralists call remissio a creditore. This remissio may be exeplicita 
or praesumpta. Only the latter comes under consideration here. Of 
it Renter writes : Theol. Mor. p. 3, n. 351 : Qui rem detinet prudenter 
credens, dominum non esse invitum, non pcccat . . . Si autem duhi- 
tatur, an dominus esset remissurus, petenda est remissio. St. 
Antoninus {p. 20. t. i. cap. 15) does not oblige to restitution one 
qui credit dominum permissurum, et si subest jnsfa credendi. This 
is by St. Alphonsus {lib. 3, n. 700) regarded as: Sententia> 
satis communis, and we may apply it to the present case. We may 
then conclude that if the proprietor of the business did not explicitly 
present to his traveling man the sum taken by the latter's wife, still 
Titus, or his wife, may presume this remissio. Though, according 
to the wording of the agreement, the firm's rights have been violated, 
and therewith the obligation of restitution established, still it cannot 
be supposed that the proprietor of the business would demand that 
his traveling man should suffer privation and scarcely allow himself 
the most necessary. Hence Titus may presume rationabiliter that 
his employer would make him a present of the money thus saved 


by excessive economy, if he asked for it. We may suppose such 
attitude in a man of business who is just to his employees. Titus' 
economical ways seem to indicate that this employer is a fairminded 
and just man, otherwise his traveling man would not have guarded 
his interests by extraordinary economy. Titus did not do this 
because afraid to make expenses and thus incur the displeasure 
of his firm, this the wife expressly stated. Zeal and loyalty to his 
employer were the sole reasons. We may suppose, therefore, that, 
had Titus asked his employer for it, he would have had the payment 
of the three hundred dollars remitted. Titus's wife, who has in- 
variably employed the money for her husband's good, may expect 
the same indulgence. 

Titus's wife, therefore, is not obliged to make restitution, no 
matter how the agreement was worded, because if she really has 
appropriated unrightful property, she may foresee prudenter that 
the employer would present her with the amount in question. 

Dr. Ph. Huppert. 


That in regard to the absolutio a censuris many doubts exist is 
proven by the many inquiries, especially in recent times, that are 
addressed in this matter to the Congregatio S. OfRcii. We will 
therefore quote here a very important decision. It is well known 
that almost all censures latae sententiae, now in effect, are contained 
in the Constitutio Apostolicae Sedis issued by Pius IX. October 12, 
1869. By reason of this bull there are distinguished for absolution 
four classes of censures: (i) Those speciali modo reserved to the 
Pope; (2) those simpUciter reserved to the Pope ; (3) those reserved 
to bishops ; (4) those not reserved to anyone, and from which any 
approved priest may absolve. The Council of Trent, Sessio XXIV. 
cap. 6. de Ref., granted to bishops the power: in quibuscunque 
casibus occultis, etiam Sedi Apostolicae reservatis, delinquentes quos- 
cunque sibi subditos in dioecesi sua per sc ipsos, out vicarium ad id 
specialitcr deputandum in faro conscientiae gratis absolvere, impo- 
sita poenitentia salutari. Bishops therefore had the power to absolve 
from all, even from papal censures, if they were secret ; therefore 
came into consideration merely pro foro interno. This power has, 
however, been restricted by the bull Apostolicae Sedis. The bull 
orders : Firmam tamcn esse volumus absolvendi facultatem a Tri- 
dentina Synodo Episcopis con€essam Sess. XXIV. cap. 6. de Ref. in 
quibuscunque censuris Apostolicae Sedi hac Nostra constitutione 
reservatis, iis tantum exceptis, quas Eidem Apostolicae Sedi speciali 
modo reservatas declaravimus. Since then can bishops consequently 
de jure only absolve from censures simplicitcr reserved to the Pope. 
if they are secret, but not from those reserved speciali modo. There 



can be no doubt in this matter. What, however, about these latter 
censures, superveniente impediniento adeundi Papam? Until the 
issue of the bull Apost. Sedis the universally accepted principle was : 
Casus papalis supcrveniene impedimento adeundi Papam lit espisco- 
palis, and if a person under censure was prevented from presenting- 
himself personally to the Pope, not only by danger of death, but 
also on account of sickness, decrepitude or poverty, any priest could 
absolve him. The bull Apost. Sed. put this principle in doubt. For 
this reason the following duhia were laid before the Congregatio 
S. Oificii: (i) Whether one might safely hold the opinion that the 
absolution from reserved cases, including those reserved to the Pope 
speciali modo, would devolve on a bishop or approved priest, if 
the penitent found it impossible personaliter adeundi S. Sedemf 
(2) The first question answered in the negative, if it would be 
necessary to have recourse to the Grand Penitentiary in Rome, at 
least in writing, to receive the facultas absolvendi, except for abso- 
lution in danger of death? 

In reply to this came July 30, 1886, the following decision, con- 
firmed by the Holy Father Leo XIII : 

Ad 1. Attenda praxi S. Poenitentiariae praesertim ah edita Con- 
stitutione Apostolica s. m. Pii IX., quae incipit Apostolicae Sedis, 

Ad II. Affirmative ; at in casibus vere urgentiorihus, in quibus 
ahsolutio diiferri nequeat absque periculo gravis scandali vel infa- 
miae, super quo confessariorum conscientia oneratur, dari posse 
absolutionem, injunctis de jure injungendis- a censuris etiam 
speciali modo Siimmo PontiUci reservatis, sub poena tamen reinci- 
dentiae in easdem censuras, nisi saltern infra mensem per epistolam 
et per medium confcssarii absolutus reciirrat ad S. Sedem. 

From this decision it follows that the above-mentioned view, 


Casus papalis superveniente impedimenio adeundi Papam £t episco- 
palis, is no longer tenable. At least for speciali modo reserved cen- 
sures application must be made to the Holy See, pro foro externa 
as well as pro foro interno. 

As concerns simpliciter reserved censures it follows from what 
has been said, and from this decision, that distinction must be made 
between public and secret cases. In secret cases bishops can de 
jure absolve, as before. In public cases, however, if, therefore, 
absolution is necessary in foro externa, recourse must be had to the 
Holy See. In casibus vere iirgentiarihus, i. e., cases in which ab- 
solution on account of the danger of death, or for other pressing 
reasons, cannot be deferred, a confessor may absolve directly from 
all censures, but must impose upon his penitent the obligation, 
within thirty days in the instance of those dangerously ill, in case 
of recovery, of course, to present himself at Rome, or to apply 
there in writing through the confessor. If the penitent fails to 
comply with this condition, then, after the expiration of a month, 
the same censure is again incurred. 

Further doubts having arisen amongst theologians of recent 
times, the following Dubia were laid before the same Congregation: 
/. Utrum responsum ad 1. valeat etiam pro casu, quando poenitens 
fuerit perpetuo impeditus persanaliter Raman proHcisci? The an- 
swer confirmed by the Holy Father, June i8, 1891, reads: Affirma- 
tive. II. Utrum in respansa ad II um clausula sub poena tamen 
reincidentiate , etc., referatur solummodo ad absolutionem a censuris 
€t casibus speciali modo S. P. rescrvatis, an etiam ad absolutionem 
a censuris et casibus simpliciter Papae reservatis? To this the 
answer was : Negative ad primam partem; affirmative ad secundam 
partem. Some interpreters made exceptions to the obligation to 
apply subsequently to the Pope, and for this reason the following 


additional Dubium was presented to the Sacred Congregation : 
Utrum auctores moderni post Const. Apost. Sedis {contra jus com- 
mune, Cap. Eos, qui 22 dc sent, excom. in VI. Lib. V., tit. II.; et 
contra Ritualc Rotnanum, de Poenit.) recte doceant, ei, qui in 
articitlo mortis a quolibet confessario a quibusvis censuris quomo- 
docunquc reservatis absolutus fuerit, tunc solummodo imponendam 
esse obligationem se sistendi Superiori, recuperata valetudinc , si 
agatiir de absolutionc a censuris speciali modo Papae reservatis; an 
hujusmodi recursus ad Superiorem etiam necessarius sit in absolu- 
tionc a censuris simpliciter Summo PontiUci reservatis. The an- 
swer was : Affirmative ad primam partem, negative ad secundam 
partem. According to this decision it is true, therefore, that an 
exception is made from above rule if one in danger of death has 
been absolved from a censure simpliciter reserved to the Pope. 
In case of recovery he need not present himself to the authority. 

Prof. Joseph Weiss. 


Treated in the Three Volumes of THE CASUIST 
(The Numbers Refer to Volume and Page) 

Abortus, III, 26s 

ABSOLUTION, see also Confession 
Absolutio a Censuris, I, 36; 

in, 336 

Absolutio complicis, III, 257 

Absolutio in Periculo Mortis, 

by newly ordained priest with- 
out jurisdiction. III, 319 

Absolution feigned, III, 283 

Absolution, invalid, I, 311 

Absolution of an unconscious 

person, II, 197 

' Absolution to dying heretics, 

II, 290; III, 40 
Absolution pronounced in ab- 
sence of penitent, in case of 
sick calls, I, 184 
Adjusting of Mass stipends, I, 63 
Administering the Last Sacraments 

to feeble-minded, III, 218 
Administration of the Holy Viaticum 
to one unconscious from a para- 
lytic stroke, II, 241 
Administration of the Last Sacra- 
ments to children over the age of 
six in danger of death, II, 169 
Administration of the Last Sacra- 
ments (Incl. Viaticum) to danger- 
ously sick children under six years 
of age, II, 173 
Admission to Holy Orders, II, 236 
Age for confirmation, II, 181 
Altar of exposition, III, 298 
Altars, their desecration, II, 121 ; 

III, 250, 272 
Anticipating the office, II, 49; III, 35 
Apparitions and phenomena, II, 212 
Appropriating another's ideas, I, 237 

Arson and restitution, II, 158 
Assault, II, 195 

Bankruptcy, I, 171 

Baptism, I, 139, 151, 243, 331 ; II, 24, 

205, 210, 248; III, 90, 109 
Baptism of child, where must it take 

place, I, 151 
Baptism of illegitimate children, II, 

Baptisms, conditional, II, 248 
Baptized non-Catholics bound by the 

laws of the Church, I, 160 
Baptizing an infant in the mother's 

womb, I, 331 
Bequest for Masses in the testament 

of a suicide. III, 182 
Bequests for charity cancelled by 

court, II, 65, 86 
Betrothals, see Marriage 
Blessing the Easter water on holy 

Saturday, III, 99 
Burial of children, II, 294 
Burial of suicides, III, 212 

Celebrans indice impedito. III, 143 
Celebratio and binatio, after breaking 

the fast, II, 268 
Censures, I, 36, 240, 248; III, 265 
Ceremonies of Holy Week, I, 17; 

III, 99 
Churching of women after illegiti- 
mate childbirth, I, 11 
Church linens, washing, II, 96 
Civil laws binding in conscience, II, 

Clergyman's demeanor, II, 263 
Cleric in minor orders acting as sub- 
deacon, II, 29 




Qerical censure, I, 44 

Communion of a newly baptized con- 
vert without Confession, I, 49 

Commutation of the simple vows of 
celibacy, I, 67 

Company keeping, I, 292 

Compensatio occulta and restrictio 
mentalis, III, 288 

Concealing the real value of an ob- 
ject, I, 198 

CONFESSION, see also Absolution 

Absolutio in periculo mortis 

by young priest without juris- 
diction, III, 319 

Absolution given by mistake 

to a penitent who has not 
confessed for one who has 
confessed, I, yz 

Absolving penitents without 

admonition, II, I12 

An incomplete yet valid Con- 
fession, III, 156 

A penitent's recourse to the 

Sacred Penitentiary, III, 175 

Can an indefinite and general 

accusation, except in a case 
of necessity, suffice for Con- 
fession, and is it permitted? 
HI, 225 

Children's Confessions, II, 283 

Conferring of a dispensation 

and the seal of Confession, I, 

Confessarius extraneus : A 

case from the law of regu- 
lars, I, 303 

Confession by telephone, I, 94 

Confession of a dying person, 

material and formal integrity, 
I, 189 

Confession of a newly bap- 
tized convert, I, 49 

— — Confession of a rebaptized 
convert, I, 7 

Confession of nuns. III, 313 

Confession quam primum, I, 


Doubtful restitution ; decision 

of the confessor; conse- 
quences to the confessor. III, 

CONFESSION— Continued 

Envy as mortal sin. III, 261 

Forgetting to give absolution, 

II, 228 

Imposition in the confes- 
sional, III, 216 

Inquiring in Confession for 

the name of an accomplice, I, 

Jurisdiction for Confession of 

nuns. III, 313 

Jurisdiction, II, 219; III, 238, 

3i3> 318 

Materia absolutionis, I, 189, 

311; III, 147 

Misuse of General Confession 

by penitents of the female 
sex. III, 211 

— • — Necessity of contrition in the 
Sacrament of Penance, III, 

— — Necessity of General Confes- 
sion for a convert rebaptized 
sub conditione, I, 7 

Perfect contrition. III, 170 

Preserving the seal of Con- 
fession by the confessor 
against himself, III, 324 

Presuming jurisdiction, II, 219 

Shortening of Confession to 

save a penitent's reputation, 

III, 167 

— ■ — Shortening of Confessions 
when many patients are wait- 
ing, III, 147 

The Confession of a person 

hard of hearing. III, 194 

The seal of Confession, II, 44 ; 

III, 324 
Confirmation, ll, 181 
Consecration, I, 92, 131, 279, 256; III, 

143, 306 
Consecration doubtful, I, 131 
Consecration outside of holy Mass 

ever valid? II, 252 
Conversion on account of marriage, 

I, 49 
Conversion through hypnotic sugges- 
tion, I, 320 
Co-operantes ad furtum, III, 94 
Cooperation in non-Catholic worship, 
funerals, etc., I, 14S ; II, 185, 235 



Correction, I, 208, 213 
Counterfeit money, III, 296 
Craniotomy, does its performance 
incur excommunication? Ill, 178 
Cremation, II, 33 

Defraudation, I, 31, 71 

Denunciation and obligation of resti- 
tution, III, 253 

Desecration of fixed and movable 
altars, II, 121 ; III, 250, 272 

Desertion, II, 16 

Disinheriting a son to defeat money- 
lenders, II, 299 

Dispensation from fasting. III, 286 

Dispensation from hearing Mass be- 
cause proximate occasion, I, 118 

Disposition of restitution money. III, 

Dispositions required for saying 
Mass, I, 135 

Do Christians become martyrs by 
dying in the voluntary service of 
plague — stricken patients? II, 278 

Doubt before celebration. III, 240 

Duties of pastor toward parishioners, 

I, 213; III, 309 

Duties of a witness. III, 50 

Duty of heirs to pay testator's debts, 

II, 301; III, 118 

Enmity, I, 193, 233 
Epilepsy before ordination. III, 141 
Errors in changing money, III, 277 
Excommunication incurred by con- 
tumelious treatment of priests, etc., 

II, 117 

Explanation of the words nemo in 
utero matris clausus baptizari de- 
bet, I, 331 

Exposition of blessed Sacrament, I, 
75 ; III, 298 

Extreme unction, II, 81, 306; III, 156, 

Extreme unction, rite for administra- 
tion to more than one person at 
one time. III, 247 

False accusation, II, 195 

False teeth and holy Communion, 

III, i6s 

Fasting dispensation. III, 286 

Favoring his poor relations by a 
priest in the disposition of restitu- 
tion money, III, 269 

Feeble-minded, III, 218 

First Mass, may a votive office be 
taken? Ill, 173 

Forbidden books, may they be kept 
in one's possession unread? I, 83 

Fraternal correction, I, 208 

Frequent Communion, II, 265 ; III, 

Furnishing of non-Catholic churches, 

II, 185 

Gambling with another's counterfeit 
money, and the obligation of resti- 
tution, III, 296 

Giving holy Communion on Holy 
Saturday, III, 28 

Godparents in Baptism, I, 243 

Greek rite, I, 26 

Heir's duty to pay testator's debts, 

III, 118 

Holy week, I, 17; III, 28, 99 
Hypnotism, I, 320 

Hysterical scrupulousness of a nun, 

Illegitimate children, II, 205 

Impeditio prolis, I, 316 

Incendiarism, I, 261 

Incest, I, 36 

Indulgenced Cross, III, 192 

Indulgence for the dying. III, 71, 203 

Indulgence plenary, II, 21 

Insanity, II, 177 

Insurance defraudation, I, 31 

Interruptio Missae for an urgent sick 

call, I, 270 
Invocation of the holy Name of Jesus 

indispensably required for gaining 

the indulgence for the dying? Ill, 

Irregularity, I, 44; III, 90 

Jejunium naturale, II, 268; III, 138 
Jurisdiction for Confession of nuns, 
III, 313 

Laws of the Church binding non- 
Catholics, I, 160 



Lawyer's practice, II, ii 

Lay confraternities forbidden in con- 
vent chapels, I, 274 

Liability for damage done by one's 
animal, II, 69 

Low Mass on Holy Thursday, I, 17, 

Lying and deceiving ever permitted? 

Marks of friendship toward an 
enemy, I, 193 

An unbaptized marriage can- 
didate in the confessional, II, 


Assisting at non-Catholic 

marriage, I, 145 

Betrothals, II, 125, 128; III, 

7, 13, 60 

Betrothals, informal, II, 125 

Bridegroom's rights. III, 254 

Company keeping, I, 292 

Concubinage, I, 277, 290; II, 


Conditio turpis, III, 81 

Conversion on account of 

marriage, I, 49 

Delegation, II, 100; III, 66 

Faculties of pastor and as- 
sistants under new marriage 
law, III, 7, 60 

Impediment of blood rela- 
tionship, II, 58; III, 13 

Impediment of clandestinity, 

II, 310 

Impediment of spiritual rela- 
tionship, II, 24, 205 

— • — Impedimentum criminis, I, 
22; III, 7 

Impedimentum dirimens im- 

potentiae, I, 22 

Impedimentum disparitatis cul- 

tus, II, 53 

Impedimentum erroris, II, 

. Impedimentum impediens aris- 
ing from betrothal, I, 128 

Impedimentum ligaminis, II, 

16; III, 81 

Impedimentum metus, II, 

163; III, 122 

MARRIAGE— Continued 

Impedimentum mixtae re- 

ligionis, I, 22; II, 180 

— ■ — Impedimentum occultum, I, 

Impedimentum publicae hon- 

estatis. III, 13 

Impeditio prolis, I, 316 

Interpellation in the Casus 

Apostoli, I, 177 

Marriage by compulsion, II, 


Marriage by priest without 

banns and Confession, I, 290 

Marriage dispensation in a 

case of temporary vows, I, 

Marriage in danger of death, 

II, 149 

Marriages between Latin and 

Oriental Catholics, or of 
Catholics with Schismatics 
(Protestants), II, 130 

Marriages in cases of emer- 
gency, II, 155 

Matrimonium ratum et non 

consummatum, I, 155 

May mixed marriage ever be 

advised? I, 100 

Mixed marriage, I, 51, 100, 

165; II, 139 

Mixed marriages under the 

new decree, II, 139 

Mutuus consensus, I, 22 

Ne Temere and Catholics of 

the Oriental rite, II, 129 

Nullity of a marriage owing 

to non-fulfilment of an im- 
posed condition, II, 166 

Nullity of marriage because 

of antecedent insanity, II, 177 

Nullity of marriage owing to 

the impediment of fear. III, 

Pauline privilege, I, iii, 177 

Points regarding the new 

marriage legislation. III, 7 

Practical marriage cases un- 
der the new degree, II, 133 

A Roman Catholic marries 

an Oriental Schismatic, III, 



MARRIAGE— Continued 
Sanatio in radice, I, 22, 51; 

II, 53, 253; III, 113 

The validity of marriages 

among non-Catholics of the 
same sect, II, 144 
Mass, for whom may it be offered? 

I, 88; III, 182 

Masses for suicides, III, 182 
(Mass) Office of first Mass, III, 173 
Mass said in fermented bread, I, 26 
Mass said without wine. III, 76 
Mass said with wine mixed with wa- 
ter, III, 244 
Mass stipends, I, 63, 228 
(Mass) When are the words calicem 
salutaris accipiam to be spoken? 

III, 303 

May Mass be celebrated and holy 
Communion given at an altar upon 
which the blessed Sacrament is ex- 
posed? Ill, 298 

Means by which to induce those seri- 
ously sick to receive the Sacra- 
ments, I, 77 

Medical secret, I, 219 

Members of Religious Orders and 
personal property, II, 303 

Mistakes in prayers of the Mass, I, 
92; III, 306 

Morphine habit, I, 255 

Musician's cooperation by playing in 
Protestant churches, and at dances, 

II, 225 

Name of church, may it be changed? 
I, 265 

Near occasion with relation to com- 
pany-keeping, I, 292 

Near occasion with relation to going 
to church, I, 118 

Nuns as godparents, I, 243 

Nuns may not cooperate in confra- 
ternities, I, 274 

Obedientia canonica, II, 188 

Office of subdeacon on day of ordina- 
tion, III, 56 

Oleum catechumenorum used for Ex- 
treme Unction, II, 81 

Oleum infirmorum used for Baptism, 

III, 109 

Ordination, II, 236; III, 141 
Ordo sepeliendi parvulos-adultos, II, 

Pastoral prudence, II, 207 

Pastor's duty toward parishioners, 

III, 309 
Perfect contrition as valid substitute 

for Confession, III, 170 
Personal sacrilege, II, 117 
Pilferings of provisions: a case of 

restitution, II, 192 
Possessor bonae fidei and the duty of 

restitution. III, 330 
Private revelations, I, 123 
Probabilism, II, 272 
Procurantes abortum, who incurs the 

censure? Ill, 265 
Profanation of church, II, 281 
Professional secrecy, I, 219 
Promise a binding contract, I, 86 
Purchase of stolen goods, II, 183 

Race suicide, I, 316 

Railway disaster caused by mischief 

and duty of restitution, II, 179 
Reconciliatio ecclesiae, II, 281 
Repetition of Extreme Unction dur- 
ing same illness, II, 306 
Replating an indulgenced cross al- 
lowed? Ill, 192 
Requiem Masses in church where the 
blessed Sacrament in exposed, I, 75 
Reserved cases, II, 231 ; III, 238 
Reserved cases in an Order, I, 303 
Responsibility for Mass stipends, I, 228 
Restitution (see also special heads), 
I, 31, 71. 108, 171, 198, 202, 261, 
272; II, 62, 69, 108, 158, 179, 183, 
192, 195, 299; III, 94, 153, 160, 253, 
269, 277, 296, 330, 332 
Restitution by members of religious 

Orders, III, 160 
Restrictio mentalis. III, 288 
Right of a bishop to suspend a priest 
without trial, I, 248 

Sacred Penitentiary, III, 175 
Scrupulousness, I, 57 
Seal of Confession, I, 65, 73 ; III, 324 
Secret compensation, II, 75, 108, 183: 
III, 288, 332 



Secret societies, II, 38 

Sick calls, I, 184, 189 

Sick calls during Mass, I, 270 

Simple vows and reserved cases, II, 

Son's duty toward his father, I, 233 
Spiritistic seances, III, 20 
Sponsorship, invalid, II, 210 
Stealing ideas, I, 237 
Stomach-pump, its use before and 

after Mass or holy Communion, 

III, 138 
Subdeacon, II, 29; III, 56 
Suicide's bequest for Masses, III, 182 
Suicide's burial, III, 212 
Superstitious faith in prayers. III, 200 
Suspension, I, 44, 248; III, 90, 104 
Suspicion thrown on some one else, 

III, 280 

Tale-bearing, I, 213 
Telepathic phenomena, II, 3i« 
Threats of suicide, I, 57 
Traveling salesman's expenses, III, 

Viaticum, see Administration 

Vow, definition. III, 292 

Vow of celibacy, I, 67, 268 

Vows, simple and reserved cases, II, 

Vow to enter an Order, I, 257 

When in holy Mass are the words 
Calicem Salutaris accipiam to be 
spoken? Ill, 303 

Who incurs the censure : Procurantes 
abortum effectu secuto? Ill, 265 

Witness, his duty. III, 50 

Date Due 

WO- 6 'a 


D V4 




Demco 293-5 

3 5282 00175 2438